Turkish Parliament agrees to reinstate 10 percent limit on foreign ownership of land
Parliaments’s Justice Commission agrees to reinstate a 10 percent limit on foreign ownership of land in a single district as members of the ruling party succumb to objections
A parliamentary commission discusses a draft on foreign ownership of land.The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has agreed to reinstate a 10 percent limit on foreign ownership of land in a single district, during discussions at Parliament’s Justice Commission, retreating after opposition objections. A controversial bill easing restrictions on foreign purchases of real estate was amended at a commission meeting April 11 after a stormy debate. Under the amended draft, a foreign individual can buy a maximum of 30 hectares of land in Turkey, but the amount could be doubled by a government decision. The current limit is 2.5 hectares of land.
The main opposition party
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), however, said the bill was still unconstitutional. The CHP’s Mahmut Tanal said the bill envisaged no real limit for sales of real estate to foreign companies, and that the Constitutional Court had scrapped similar arrangements in the past.
“Similar provisions have been cancelled by the Constitutional Court. Still, the government is pressing for this amendment in order to ease financial difficulties. Turkey’s public debt ratio is at its limits at the moment. They [the government] see real estate sales to foreigners as a solution. Sales of 2-B [deforested] land and pasture lands are also being considered. The government is trying to close the [budget] deficit through these efforts,” Tanal told the Hürriyet Daily News.
The principle of reciprocity
He also slammed the bill for abolishing the principle of reciprocity, under which the Turkish authorities take into account other countries’ rules for property sales to Turkish nationals.
“With a few exceptions, there’s no other country in Europe and the Middle East that exempts real estate sales from the principle of reciprocity. Some AKP deputies claimed that there’s no rule of reciprocity in our constitution. I can’t understand how they don’t know it. Reciprocity is a fundamental principle of our constitution’s introductory provisions. This bill is unconstitutional,” Tanal said.
The CHP’s Justice Commission member, Dilek Akagün Yılmaz, said they could consider asking the Constitutional Court to scrap the bill if it is approved by the General Assembly in its current form.Under the draft, the government would be able to place restrictions or bans on the places where foreign individuals and trade companies could buy real estate.