Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has revived an idea to grant citizenship to foreigners who buy a certain amount of property in the country.
“The amount of property bought [by foreigners] in Turkey adds up to from $4 billion to $5 billion. Let’s increase this figure to $10 billion,” daily Haberturk quoted him as saying during a meeting with journalists in the southern province of Adana.
“Those with a dream to live in Turkey, they should come here and we will grant them citizenship,” Zeybekci said.
The minister recalled that many countries offer a similar implementation, also saying the base limit could stand somewhere between $500,000 and $1 million.
A country that should grow at least 5 percent each year in the economy cannot fulfill this by depending only on its domestic savings, he said.
”We should bring other investors than the foreign direct investors in Turkey. We should create new rich Turks,” he was quoted as saying.
Housing sales to foreigners decreased in September, according to recent data from the Turkish Statistics Agency (TÜİK). Sales to foreigners dropped by 4.8 percent to 1,768 units in September compared to the same month of 2014.
However, in May, property sales to foreigners hit record high levels with the sale of 1,982 units, marking a 21.3 percent increase from the same month in 2014, despite a general slowing-down in the sector across Turkey.
A total of 2,027 properties in Turkey were sold to foreigners in July, marking a 37.6 percent increase from the same month last year. Iraqis topped the list, buying a total of 362 properties, followed by Saudi Arabian citizens who bought 233, Russians who bought 195, Kuwaitis who bought 147 and Brits, who bought 101 properties, according to TÜİK data revealed in August.
Throughout 2014, the number of properties sold to foreigners reached 18,959. The resort province of Antalya was the top favorite with 6,542, followed by Istanbul with 5,580 and Aydın with 1,191 properties.
Last year, foreigners bought properties worth $4.32 billion in Turkey, marking an all-time annual high, according to sector representatives.