Turkish Bar Associations Union takes citizenship through investment to top court

Pushback on citizenship-by-investment program given negative impacts:

The Turkish Union of Bar Associations (TBB) has applied to the country’s top court for the reversal of a regulation allowing foreigners to gain Turkish citizenship through investment, Diken news site reported on Monday.

“The current regulation, which came into effect in 2013, is both in violation of the Constitution and lacking any legal foundation,” it cited the TBB as saying in the application submitted to the Council of State.

Turkey’s “Citizenship by Investment Programme,” which allows citizenship through the sale of housing to foreigners, came into effect almost a decade ago. The programme initially allowed foreigners who owned property in Turkey equivalent to $1 million to become citizens. This amount was reduced to 250,000 in 2018, sparking a rapid hike in foreigners seeking to own a home in the country.

The figure was increased to $400,000 on Monday, according to a decree published in the Official Gazette signed off by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The latest change was prompted by a spike in the price of new and existing homes of almost 100 percent annually, which has made it effectively impossible for citizens to purchase homes. Builders in the country are charging more for new homes after the raw material costs jumped, partly due to a slump in the value of the lira, which lost 44 percent of its value against the dollar in 2021 and around 25 percent this year.

“The Turkish Republic’s constitution urges that the conditions for attaining citizenship should be regulated through the law,” the TBB said. “There is no regulation in the (related) law, which states that …. Turkish citizenship can be obtained through investment made in foreign currency.”

The citizenship programme also provides a Turkish passport to foreigners who invest  $500,000 in government bonds, companies, investment funds or a local bank account.

Erdoğan’s government has come under criticism for offering investment incentives to foreign nationals as citizens continue to feel the squeeze of soaring inflation on their wallets.

Last month, Erdoğan said his government would help alleviate the cost of higher property prices by offering zero interest rate mortgages to low income families. He also said the government would provide financing for unfinished housing projects provided the developers froze prices for a year.

Source: Turkish Bar Associations Union takes citizenship through investment to top court

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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