Turkey has significantly eased the required limits for foreigners to acquire Turkish citizenship to encourage investment, according to new regulations published in the country’s Official Gazette on Sept. 19.

The lower limit of fixed capital investments to acquire Turkish citizenship for foreigners has been reduced to $500,000 from $2 million.

Foreigners who own real estate in Turkey worth a minimum of $250,000, instead of $1 million, can avail Turkish citizenship.

The deposit requirement of minimum $3 million in Turkish banks has also been lowered to $500,000.

Foreigners who generate jobs for minimum 50 people will also be able to take Turkish citizenship, the decree signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said. The previous number required was 100.

Foreign investors should hold the properties or continue the minimum limit of financial investments for at least three years to meet the criteria for Turkish citizenship.

Property sector hails new rules

The new regulation has especially been hailed by the property sector, which eyes nearly $10 billion sales to foreigners annually.

“With the first reciprocity rule in 2012, which stipulated the right to obtain Turkish citizenship to foreigners who invested $1 million in real estate in Turkey, we have achieved an increase of our property sales to foreigners to $4.6 billion on an annual basis. Arab countries especially buy properties in Turkey to find a relief from the geographical instability,” said Feyzullah Yetkin, the head of the Real Estate Investment Partnership Association (GYODER).

“We expect a further increase in foreign demand with the new regulation, which was launched today,” he said on Sept. 19.

In the initial stage, sales to foreigners will likely hit $10 billion, according to Yetgin.

“In the mid-term, we can see $20 billion of sales on a yearly basis,” he said, adding that Turkey’s perception should also be maintained here.

According to sector data, 11,816 houses were sold to foreigners for $2.1 billion in total.

“A foreigner pays $177,000 on average for a house in Turkey,” said Konutder board member Erden Timur.

“The new regulation will encourage foreigners with a higher income to buy houses worth over $250,000,” he added.

According to GYODER data, Turkey now has 820,000 house stocks, which are ready to be sold.