Bridging Europe and Asia, Turkey is celebrated as the seat of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Turkey became a republic in the aftermath of World War I, under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who espoused the principles of secularism and nationalism. Significant changes to Tukey’s form of government came into effect in 2018, when the nation adopted a presidential system separating the executive from the legislature. This followed an attempted coup in July 2016, and growing tensions with both the European Union and the United States. Turkey experienced strong economic growth in 2017 and is expected to continue growing in the coming years, even if at a slower pace.
Turkey’s economic citizenship programme was launched in January 2017. It finds its basis in Turkey’s Citizenship Law, Act No. 5901, as amended, and in Regulation 2016/9601, passed by the Council of Minister on 12 December 2016. Article 12 of the Act specifies that a person may obtain Turkish citizenship for “outstanding service in the social or economic arena” provided this creates no obstacle to “national security and public order.”
Applicants interested in obtaining citizenship of Turkey may do so by choosing one of five routes. The first three routes each entail retention of the investment for a period of three years. They are: purchasing property valued at US$1 million, depositing US$3 million in a Turkish bank, or investing US$3 million in government bonds. The applicant must ensure recognition of the investment by either the Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation, the Council of Bank Audit and Regulation, or the Under secretariat of the Treasury, according to the nature of the chosen investment. The remaining two routes to citizenship are an investment of US$2 million in fixed capital, to be acknowledged by the Ministry of the Economy, or the creation of 100 jobs in Turkey, to be acknowledged by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
Although there are plans to reduce the US$1 million real estate investment threshold to US$300,000, these have yet to become law.
The application process, which normally takes three months, does not require applicants to learn Turkish or to attend a mandatory interview. There is also no requirement to reside in Turkey, and the applicant may apply remotely. There are no restrictions on an applicant’s country of origin, making the Turkish citizenship by investment route a popular option for those who are banned from partaking in the programmes of other nations.
Turkey allows dual nationality, and is considered a moderate country within the context of the Middle East. Despite various attempts at obtaining visa-free travel to the Schengen Area, including by the making of an agreement with the European Union on the flow of refugees, Turkish nationals must obtain visas to enter the Schengen member states. They must also apply for visas to Canada and the United States.