Buying Property in Turkey
This article aims at providing all the necessary and relevant information for buying property in Turkey. There are also some sections for people who plan to reside or work in Turkey. We are indebted to Turkish Living Forum for their kind permission to let us use substantial information in this article previous published on their site. Please ensure you visit their excellent Forum ....
Buying Property in Turkey
Traditionally British people have bought property mainly in Mediterranean countries such as Spain, France, Italy and Cyprus as well as popular American destinations like Florida.
However, these places have recently become extremely expensive and saturated. More recently those looking for a holiday home or place in the sun have been seeking other alternative overseas destinations.
If you prefer buying a property at a very reasonable price which you can use yourself for regular holidays and somewhere that you can also rent out to get some income in a country where the summer is nice and long, stretching from March to November, a wealth of tourist attractions, then Turkey is definitely an option you should be considering.Buying Property in Turkey - What about Bird Flu ?
Bird Flu was a scam, introduced to keep the general population in fear to keep us under control and to make money from selling pharmaceuticals which actully endanger our health. See A Plan for Peace for more details.
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Private individuals and commercial corporate entities of the countries with which reciprocity agreements have been signed were able to buy a real estate in Turkey before July 26, 2005, provided that the property was not located in a military and/or security zone.
However, upon the application of the main opposition party, the Constitutional Court cancelled the relevant law’s provisions with regards to foreign nationals and those provisions became void at the end of July 2005. In December 2005 however a new law re-instated this right to buy, but limiting the amount of land that can be purchased to 25,000 m2 (although The Council of Ministers is authorised to increase this threshold to 300,000 m2 per person). Click Here for further info.
The Constitution, the relevant provisions of the Civil Code, the Title Deeds Act, the Foreign Direct Investment Law and the relevant legislation form the legal framework for foreigners buying property in Turkey.
Are Turkish citizens and foreigners treated differently?
According to the legal framework mentioned above, both Turkish citizens and foreign owners have equal property-ownership rights.
In general, properties in Turkey are of Freehold type.
Property prices have been steadily increasing. You can find a property from £20,000 up to and in excess of £200,000. The price broadly depends on the location of the property, the quality of the material used in construction, architectural features of the property, ease of transportation and airport transfer, economic activities in the region, and availability of nearby services.
There is a wide range of options such as detached, semi-detached and terraced houses, purpose-built flats and apartments as well as cottages and luxury villas. Quality residential properties are available almost everywhere in Turkey.
Firstly you need to choose which area suits you the best in terms of your requirements for buying property in Turkey. Do you want coastal or city life? All year tourism or the quiet life in winter? Theres many options to consider and you will find that the many different areas of Turkey has something to appeal to all age groups, tastes and budgets.
Research is key to a successful purchase. The discussion forums at www.turkishliving.com cover all the most popular areas of Turkey and provide a cost free environment for you to discuss with like minded people who are either looking to purchase or who have already done so.
Click Here to read about our Property Purchase Advice Service or Download our Brochure for more details
Unlike the UK, it is not compulsory to hire a solicitor for a property purchase in Turkey. However, you are in a foreign country and since there are many steps to buying a property (some are very important), the wise purchaser will consult a solicitor who can provide unbiased legal and financial advice about all issues and aspects of buying property in Turkey.
In addition, solicitors are privileged professionals to request any information on the following:
Furthermore, you may not need a translator if you are using a good English-speaking solicitor. Moving Overseas Guide will be pleased to help you locate one if you Contact Us
In addition, please bear in mind that an authorised solicitor cannot breach Turkish Laws & Regulations. Otherwise, the Bar they have been registered with abolishes their license and afterwards can never work as a solicitor.
Law offices and legal partnerships in Turkey provide clients with good and comparatively much cheaper legal services than their counterparts in the UK.
They generally charge on an hourly basis however, recently some firms have started applying capped fees. Fees are much lower than those in Europe starting in the region of €30 per hour.
All registered law firms in Turkey are regulated by the Turkish Bar Association. Foreign law firms can register in Turkey, however, since only Turkish lawyers can practise Turkish law, those firms have to employ a lawyer registered at the Turkish Bar Association.
Authentication of a Turkish Lawyer when buying property in Turkey
You can verify whether the solicitor you are using is an authorised solicitor at barobirlik.org.tr
There are several steps to be followed in buying a property in Turkey. That's why it is frequently suggested that you appoint someone or an agent to deal with all necessary transactions by means of a legal document called “Power of Attorney” for buying the property.
This MUST be endorsed and witnessed in the presence of a Notary-Public.
A Principal (the person who delegates his authority) can give an Agent broad legal authority, or very limited authority. The Power of Attorney is frequently used to help when the principal cannot be present to sign necessary legal documents.
A Power of Attorney can be used to make an Agent:
The conditions such as the duration of validity, actions that the agent can take and cannot take etc. should be stated clearly in those documents and again this MUST be done in the presence of a Notary-Public.
The candidate agent should be researched well. If he/she is a solicitor, it might be useful to cross check whether they are a member of the local Lawyers' Barr Association. Or, if you find someone from other professions, you can ask for a C.V. and a professional reference letter from their Bank.
Would you believe that there are frequent stories where the Power of Attorney has been awarded to a bar owner or even waiter in the absence of understanding just how powerful this document is in the wrong hands.
Without a trustworthy candidate agent, a Power of Attorney becomes a dangerous legal instrument.
You may appoint multiple Agents. If you appoint two or more Agents, you must decide whether they must act together in making decisions involving your affairs, or whether each can act separately.
Allowing your Agents to act separately may ensure that an Agent is always available to act for you, but it may also result in confusion and disagreements if the Agents do not communicate with each other.
The Agent appointed by means of a Power of Attorney is your representative. As long as you have the legal capacity to make decisions, you can direct your Agent to behave the way you wish.
The Agent is obliged to act for the sake of your interests and is supposed to avoid any "self-dealing".
Money should be kept in a separate bank account for the benefit of the Principal. Agents must also keep accurate financial records of their activities, and provide complete and periodic accountings for all money and property coming into your possession.
A Power of Attorney can be abused, and a dishonest Agent may use a Power of Attorney to transfer your assets to himself. That is why, it is very important to appoint an Agent who is completely trustworthy and to require the Agent to provide you with complete and periodic reports.
If your agent is a professional accredited by an occupational association, you will have recourse to complain about them.
Please also note that you can apply to public attorneys in local justice courts (Adliye Sarayi) and complain about ANY abuse or fraud ONLY if you are able to document the FULL details of the case.
You may cancel the Power of Attorney at any time. In that case, you should send a written notice to your Agent and say that you are revoking the Power of Attorney. Do not forget to request the return of all copies of your Power of Attorney. You should also notify your bank or other financial institutions where your Agent is likely to use the Power of Attorney that it is no longer valid.
Yes. You don't have to go to Turkey to prepare a Power of Attorney. You can have it prepared in the UK. In that case, you must make sure that it is legalised so that it can be ‘an acceptable & valid document' in Turkey.
Legalization simply means confirming that a signature, seal or stamp appearing on a document is genuine. The signatures or seals of British public officials such as solicitors, notaries public, registrar's on certain documents from the United Kingdom have to be confirmed before those documents can be accepted in Turkey.
On the other hand, many types of documents can be legalised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office www.fco.gov.uk/legalisation and are exempt from certification by the Consulate General.
The Consulate General charges a fee of £10 for each document to be legalized.
If you are sending documents by post:
• Make sure you attach a copy of the document(s) to be legalized by the Consulate.
• Make sure you write down your phone number and address, in case the Consulate needs to get in touch.
• Make sure you enclose a company cheque or postal order to cover the appropriate fee (Cheques or postal orders must be made payable to 'Turkish Consulate General').
• You will also need to enclose £5.00 administrative fee for 1-2 signatures and £8.00 administrative fee for 3 or more signatures if you send the documents by post. Please make sure that you attach a separate company cheque or postal order (made payable to 'Turkish Consulate General') for the administrative fee.
• Make sure you attach a self-addressed envelope. No stamp is necessary.
To get further information on legalization and fees, contact the Consulate General
Currently, there are no (universal) mortgage companies in Turkey. However, the Mortgage draft law has been prepared by the Government and the service is expected to be launched in the first quarter of 2006.
Basic Steps: Things to double check against the property and professionals advising you when buying property in Turkey
Preparing a draft contract
Although these contracts are not compulsory according to current Turkish regulations and mutual declaration of both the buyer and seller to the TAPU (Title Deeds) Registry Office is enough to carry out the transfer of ownership, having a robust sales & acquisition contract will allow you to protect yourself from some potential risks which may stem from the seller or agents at a later date.
If you are using a estate agent and/or solicitor, ensure that the contract refers to them by name and they also sign the contract.
Any contract for buying property in Turkey should, at the very least, include the following:
Having the draft contract translated
Before signing the contract, you must have it translated into English. In other words, you are advised to have both English and Turkish versions of the contract. You are strongly advised to use a Sworn-Translator or use an English-speaking solicitor. Sworn-translators’ fees are quite reasonable.
Note that relying solely on an oral-translation may lead to unwanted irreversible problems in the future.
You are strongly advised to sign both the English and Turkish versions of the contract in the presence of a notary public and then have them notarised. This will ensure that:
Payment terms of the contract
To remove the property from the market, you will be asked to pay a deposit. In some situations, interim payments may also be stipulated and required.
Estate Agency purchases normally require a deposit ranging from 5-10% of the agreed selling price.
Estate Agency commissions are usually charged on both the seller and the buyer. The normal procedure is for the standard 3% to be split equally between both parties.
The next stage, both buyer & seller (or their legally authorised agents) apply to the TAPU Office for transferring the ownership.
During the application for buying property in Turkey, the buyer(s) are to provide the local TAPU Office with the following documents:
And, if any agent is being used when buying property in Turkey:
FDI companies (companies established in Turkey)
Companies established in Turkey in line with the Foreign Direct Investment Law have to issue an authorisation document to be prepared by the Commercial Registry Office on behalf of them. This document basically covers:
Companies established abroad
Commercial companies established in countries with which reciprocity agreements have been made have to submit an officially ratified authorisation document similar to the document described in the above sub-section. If any power of attorney is to take place, then two recent passport photos of the agent and an acceptable Power of Attorney are required.
Note that The Turkish-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry can help you prepare all commercial documents and you can have the necessary documents ratified at the Turkish Consulate General in London.
For further information, you can contact the Directorate General of TAPU through:
TAPU ve Kadastro Genel Müdürlügü
Upon your application, a search is performed on your behalf whether the asset is in military and security zones. They ask the local military authorities to identify the property’s exact status and once the military authorities confirm that the real estate is outside the military and security zones, your application is accepted. (Note that the new law which was enacted in December 2005 is expected to ease the time scale for military clearance).
In case the area of the land you want to buy exceeds 2.5 hectare's, then the Council of Ministers’ approval is required.
Note that military clearance may take a considerable time. Thus, you are advised to gather the contact information of the TAPU office you are using so that you can call the authorities at a later date.
Companies owned by Turkish nationals or companies established in Turkey by foreign nationals (FDI companies) are not subject to either military check/approval or any area/size limitations.
However, for commercial companies established in countries with which Turkey has a reciprocity agreement, there are few more steps.
The application to local TAPU Office is forwarded to the General Directorate of Title Deeds (Tapu ve Kadastro Genel Müdürlügü - "TKGM" ). Thereafter, TKGM double checks the application with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ascertain whether bilateral international agreements allow the purchase.
Following the Ministry’s confirmation, the company becomes eligible for buying the property (This rule is also expected to be relaxed by the new law to be enacted this year).
Finally, after military clearance has been completed to the satisfaction of the Turkish authorities, you are given an official ownership document called the Title Deeds (TAPU).
Without a TAPU, you are NEVER considered to legally own the property even if you signed a legally acceptable purchase contract with the seller.
You are required to make the payments net of the deposit (plus interim payments, if any) to the seller at his stage.
Once you are in possession of the title deeds you are required to apply to the Municipality and declare the acquisition of the property by the end of the year of acquisition. You simply fill out a form and submit it to the municipality. Thereafter, the municipality officers will tell you when and how much ‘real estate tax’ (a tax similar to the Council Tax in the UK) you are required to pay.
A TAPU is an official document which shows you have ownership rights over the property. The owner's full name and photograph, and detailed information of the property asset appear on this document.
Understanding your Tapu
Ana Gayrimenkulun - Description, location and cadastral coordinates of the main land
Ili = Province
Yüzölçümü = Area/size of the land (The sum of the figures shown for the three parameters below should add up to the total size of the main land)
Ha = Hectare (=10.000m²=2,47 acres)
KAT MÜKIYETI = Ownership of the independent unit which is ready to use (flat, house, office etc. built on the main land).
KAT IRTIFAKI = Ownership of the independent unit which is not ready for use yet (either because of an on-going development/construction work or due to the fact that usage permit from the municipality has not been gathered yet).
DEVRE MÜLK = Fractional/timed ownership (the independent unit is owned just for a certain period of a year)
Satis Bedeli - Actual purchase price of the property. You are advised to make sure that actual amount you paid is written in this section. Otherwise, you may encounter serious legal problems including severe financial penalties due to tax evasion. Do not forget the documents to justify that you paid this amount to the seller.
Arsa Payi - Land share (what proportion of the land belongs to the independent unit).
Blok No - Block (Building, Mansion, Lodge, Court, House) Number.
Kat No - Floor Number.
Bagimsiz Blm No - Independent Unit Number.
Edinme Sebebi - The reason why the property is being acquired. (From whom the property has been sold and any other relevant explanation).
Sahibi - Name(s) of the current owner(s)
More than one person can own the same property. In this case, their respective shares are to be shown in this section. The respective shares are illustrated in terms of the proportion of the main land.
For example, suppose that a flat which possess the ownership of 10/456 of the main land on which the complex is based and that the flat is to be owned by three person named AB, CD, and EF with shares of 20%, 30%, and 50%, respectively. Then, these names and their respective shares are shown on TAPU as follows:
AB: ab: 2/456 hisse,
CD: cd: 3/456 hisse,
EF: ef: 5/456 hisse,
The word ‘hisse’ means ‘share’ and ‘ab’, ‘cd’, and ‘ef’ are the names of fathers of those persons.
The remaining sections at the bottom of the TAPU are for official use only.
The TAPU has to be sealed with a stamp in the central part at the bottom and this section has to be signed by a TAPU officer.
The picture(s) of all owner(s) are to be suffixed to the top-right of the TAPU, and each photo sealed with a stamp and signed by the TAPU officer.
Some other important points to consider
Overdue Property Tax debts
It is very important to check whether the current owner of the property owes any overdue Real Estate tax to the tax authorities. According to the current regulations, the new owner is responsible for overdue real estate tax.
Therefore you are advised to put a clause in the Sale Contract and you are recommended to ask the seller to provide you with all copies of the tax receipts issued by the tax collection units after payment.
You are recommended to put special clauses in the sale agreement by stating that the seller will be responsible for all overdue debts incurred prior to the date of sale.
If there is a tenant staying in the property you are buying, you are advised to check the tenancy contract. Furthermore, check whether the tenant has given the seller an order to quit notice or not. If he has given a notice, then you must also check whether the dates stated in the Sale Contract and the order to quit coincide.
When you finally decide on your property, compare the information relating to the property which the seller has declared to you to the local title deeds registry office records. In other words, double check the title-deeds belonging to the seller to qualify:
Click Here for more info or Contact us today to register for further details
Building Use Authorisation Document (Habitation Certificate)
It is important that you obtain this document as it is often required to be able to obtain services such as water, electricity & telephone. The builder, or existing house owner should be able to supply it to you. You should not be charged to obtain this document.
Appropriateness of the property
According to current legislation, all buildings have to obey the construction and earthquake-proof regulations and official plans. In this respect, you should qualify whether the building has been built in line with these regulations and ask the seller to provide you with the "Use of Building Permit" "Yapi Kullanim Izni" which is issued by the local authorities.
If you are buying a building currently under construction, make sure that the contractor is financially viable and legally authorised. You are further recommended to put some special clauses in the contract with the contractor such as a date of completion, penalties for late completion, list of materials to be used, indemnities etc.
All issues relating to construction of buildings/building rights are governed by Turkish Construction Law Number 3194.
According to the law, you can have a building constructed on your own land provided that:
With regards to the authorization for building rights, if your land is within municipal borders, the relevant municipality authorizes the construction. If your land is outside the municipal borders, then the relevant provincial governor’s office "Valilik" authorizes the build.
You MUST bear in mind and qualify the status of the land in that you cannot construct any building on land which is deemed as common places such as roads, green fields and parks in the official construction plans.
Further, it is forbidden to build a dwelling on land that has been allocated and put aside for touristic development which would include the likes of hotels, restaurants, bars etc.
If you plan to buy a land and to build a property on it, you are advised to search for the relevant official Construction Plans approved by the local governments offices. Hiring a good solicitor is essential.
Buying Property in Turkey - Housing Co-operatives
These entities are one of the most popular methods of acquiring a property among Turkish citizens, who are generally at the lower to middle income levels.
Tax advantages and relatively cheaper loans provided by State organizations, great potential for economies of scale, and convenient financing requirements evenly distributed to a time scale extending to a couple of years are some of the appealing features of these entities.
However, right management of a cooperative is of high importance. The Board should assure a sound financial status and employing the right contracting company which will construct the complex is very crucial. Unless the Board is composed of trustworthy people, the designated targets may not be attained.
In this regard, if you are planning to purchase a flat, house or villa on a complex, as a part of a cooperative, you are strongly advised to search for all important and relevant aspects. You should hire a professional to do this on your behalf.
The following information briefly explains how cooperative system works.
A cooperative has to have at least 7 partners (or participants or members). The Articles of Association (AA) have to be stamped by a notary public and registered to the Trade Registry. The followings are to be clearly stated in any AA:
• The name and address of the cooperative,
Main decisions regarding a cooperative’s activities are made by the General Assembly, composed of partners. Usual General Assembly meetings have to be held within a period up to 3 years following the previous meeting.
Participants are officially invited to General Assembly meetings by the people authorised to represent the cooperative. These representatives are selected by the General Assembly.
Bringing the partnership to an end is allowed by the Law. In some cases, there might be some special time restriction clauses in the Articles of Association.
Partnership rights can be transferred to others or sold out.
According to the regulations, any partner is allowed to ask the Board of a Cooperative to provide him/her with the information about the financial status of the cooperative.
A cooperative dissolves if
• All works envisaged by the AA have been materialized and the properties have been registered in the names of the participants.
Taxation & Compulsory Insurance
Basic property-related taxes
Gains attained through a property transaction and taxation
A property may enable you to obtain two types of gains.
Firstly, you can rent it out and earn rental income. In that case, you are to pay a personal income tax. Please see the section regarding tax for more information.
Secondly, the market value of your asset may rise and hence you can attain a capital gain. If you sell out your real property in the four-year-period following the acquisition date, you shall be subject to personal income tax based on the difference between the selling price and the inflation-adjusted acquisition price.
For sales by individuals after the 4-year-period following the purchase, no personal income tax is charged on the gains.
On the other hand, firms which are subject to corporate tax are exempt from any corporate tax relating to the real estate-based gains, real estate sale-and-acquisition levy, and VAT, if they sell a real estate that they have owned for at least two years and add the gains to their capital.
Taxes and Compulsory Insurance
Foreign nationals and Turkish citizens are no different in terms of taxes or levies to be charged.
Tax rates may be updated on a periodic basis. The rates as of January 1, 2005 are presented below. Please have a look at www.maliye.gov.tr for updates and other relevant information.
Annual Property Tax rates for cultivated land, uncultivated (for building) land, non-residence-purpose buildings, and residential buildings are 0.1%, 0.3%, 0.2%, and %0.1, respectively. Tax is calculated on the basis of the declared value of the asset which could not be less than a threshold determined by tax authorities.
Tax payments are made in two equal installments in the period March-to-May and November each year and those are collected by the local governments (municipality). The tax base is annually updated by a coefficient determined by the Ministry of Finance taking into account the inflation rate.
However, the property tax rates in the following provinces (metropolitan) are two-fold the normal rates stated above.
The buyer and seller each pays a property sale and acquisition levy of 1.5%, based on the declared value of the asset. It is collected prior to the transfer of ownership at TAPU office.
In the case of registry of a new building constructed on land, a levy of 1.5% based on the reference value of the asset is to be paid.
In the case of acquisition of sea-side, river-side and lake-side properties which are subject to special permission, an acquisition levy of 26% has to be paid.
The taxation base for Inheritance Tax is updated annually. There are some discounts for inheritance to daughters, sons and spouses. In case of spouse and children, YTL 75,719 is deducted from the tax base of each person. In case of a spouse with no children, the amount of deduction from the tax base is YTL 151,526. In case of successions without reciprocity (gifts) the amount of deduction is YTL 1,748.
As of 1st January 2005 the applicable tax base and rate are as follows:
Environmental Services Tax
Environmental Services Tax is included as part of your water bill and these figures are updated annually.
Depending on engine capacity and date of production of the vehicle, owners have to pay an annual tax ranging between YTL 2.22 and YTL 22,240.
For up to date tax rates we recomend you visit Worldwide Tax.com
Standard VAT rate is 18%. However, some goods and services are taxed at 1%.
Residential property sold by a commercial entity with net area up to 150 m2 is subject to VAT of 1% whereas property with more than 150 m2 is subject to VAT of 18%.
Special Consumption Taxation
Some goods which have effects on the environment, security and health, and luxuries are subject to SCT.
• Fuels, industrial oils, petroleum products and petro-chemicals,
Turkey has a wide range of transactions on which stamp duty is charged. Some important items and the corresponding rates are outlined below.
Personal income tax is updated by a Council of Ministers for every calendar year. Main personal income items which are taxed are commercial income, agricultural income, wages, self-employment revenues, rent, interest and other incomes.
Rental income and the capital gain you will attain when you sell out your property within a four year period following its purchase in Turkey are subject to personal income tax outlined below.
For up to date tax rates we recomend you visit Worldwide Tax.com
Property must be insured by the owner against earthquake risks. It is compulsory and a national uniform tariff is applied.
If you possess a car or motorcycle, you are obliged to buy motorists (traffic) insurance. This is very cheap. In May 2006 I paid just 19 YTL for a years insurance.
The basic minimum can be compared to our third party only insurance. Full comprehensive is available but is very expensive.
The cost of the policy depends on the engine size and the production date of the vehicle.
Wills prepared by foreign nationals in their own countries can be executed in Turkey so as to transfer the ownership of a property to the individual(s) stated within the wills.
To carry out the property transfer pursuant to a will, a heir has to gather a court letter confirming the will from the relevant court their own country and to have it ratified at the Turkish Consulate General. Then a letter is submitted to the relevant court of the province in Turkey where the property is located.
The Turkish Court then issues an official document which allows the transfer.
Finally, the heir presents the document granted by the Court to the Tapu Office as well as other documents required for the transfer of ownership.
Please note that transfer of ownership of a property to an heir is subject to inheritance tax. Thus, if the heir sells out the inherited property, they are not subject to any personal income tax based on the capital gains.
When a married couple gets divorced and one of the parties is to transfer the ownership of his/her property (or a share) into the name of the other party, then this transaction is not subject to any tax.
Similarly, in Turkey, subsistence payments to be made by a divorced party to the other party are all tax exempt.
Since your UK pension is already subject to tax in the UK, it will not be taxed again in Turkey. You can freely transfer your pension to Turkey.
The Office of the Financial Counsellor
Banking in Turkey
How to make payments (Bank accounts)
Why is a bank account needed?
According to the current regulations, any monetary transaction which exceeds 8,000YTL (approximately £3,500) has to be made through banks, private financial agencies or Post Office (PTT).
Making your payments through the systems mentioned above will enable you to document your property-buying transactions. In case of any dispute or undesirable events, you will be able to make use of those records.
You can make your payment in Sterling, Dollar, Euro or New Turkish Lira (YTL)
I opened a Stirling & YTL account at HSBC who so far seem to be pretty good. The exchange rate is always far better than that offered in the change bureaus you see lining the high streets in the tourist area's. You are therefore advised to convert your currency into YTL only at Banks, Private Finance Organisations or authorised change bureaus in Turkey. You can find exchange rates on our Foreign Currency Page
Refer to www.bddk.org.tr for the full list of banks and private financial organisations in Turkey.
Kocbank - I've removed this link as their website is not currently working, but in case they fix it, the web address is http://www.kocbank.com.tr/kocbank/english/default.asp
Turkish Lira (YTL) & Foreign Exchange (FX) denominated accounts
You can open an account in New Turkish Lira (YTL) or in any currency convertible in Turkey, including Sterling. There are no limits on the number of foreign currency accounts you may hold.
Savings (depository) accounts
If you invest in a savings account at a bank, at the end of the savings term, you earn interest on the money you deposited.
If you do not wait for the expiry of the savings term and withdraw your money in your account before the term ends, no interest is paid to you and you only take back the principal sum.
However, many banks in Turkey automatically set another savings term if an account holder does not withdraw his/her money at the end of a savings term. What banks do is they consider the money which accumulated in the account as the new principal and they apply the current interest rates to this new principal. Unless the account holder withdraws the accumulated money, the period renewal is repeated at the end of each savings term.
If you plan to open a savings account, make sure whether the bank provides the automatic savings-term renewal.
Savings accounts can be either in YTL or in any convertible foreign exchange. Savings terms starts from 1 month and may stretch to more than a year.
As of September 2005, the average nominal interest rate for YTL denominated savings accounts is around 16% whereas those for FX-based accounts are close to the rates in the countries where the currency in question originates.
These are the accounts in which you deposit your money and from which you can withdraw it at any time partially or fully. No interest (or very little interest) accrues on current accounts.
Current accounts can be either YTL denominated or FX-denominated.
Banks in Turkey provide lots of other savings instruments including trading of Treasury bills or bonds, investing in mutual funds and equities, trading foreign exchange etc. Banks normally assign financial advisors to their customers to guide you on how to invest your money best.
Many banks in Turkey provide very good internet banking services and do have web pages in the English language. If you are interested in internet banking services, your branch can provide you with the necessary authorisation passwords and administration.
Opening a bank account in Turkey
You can open accounts at Banks in Turkey in your own name. All you need to do is obtain a tax number from the local tax office, which takes only few minutes, and then to submit it together with a copy of your passport to the Bank branch you want to use. I had no problem doing this when I opened my HSBC account.
When opening joint bank accounts, make sure whether the other party has the right of withdrawing money from this joint account without your consent or not.
Code of Practise and privacy of accounts
There are strict banking regulations in Turkey. Nobody can withdraw money from your account and nobody (except Courts of Turkey in case of legal inquiries) cannot learn the details of your bank account unless;
Opening a bank account in Turkey when you are in the UK
If you want a bank account in Turkey to be opened when you are in the UK, then you should contact any of the Turkish banks based in the UK from the list below:
Central Bank of Turkey
T.C. Ziraat Bankasi
Türkıye Iş Bankası
Sabanci Bank PLC
Türkıye Garantı Bankası
Turkish Bank (UK) Limited
Liabilities of a foreign property owner
A building or property in Turkey is liable for any injury which results from poor construction, negligence, or misuse. If a building collapses due to poor construction and any injury or damage results, the owner is to indemnify the losses and damage. To prevent such undesirable events, properties have to be in line with earthquake-proof and construction supervision regulations.
You are advised to buy a comprehensive home-insurance policy.
If the property in question is a flat, or a house in a buildings complex, then the owner has some responsibilities according to the Flat Ownership Law "Kat Mülkiyeti Kanunu".
In line with this law, communal parts of buildings are managed by a management committee whose members are selected by the owners in the building for a certain period of time. A Board’s decision on communal issues such as having the communal parts of the building painted or refurbished are binding for all flat/house owners.
Electricity, Water, Gas, and Telephone
Electricity and natural gas are provided by the local distributing and retailing companies. Natural gas is supplied to only a limited number of cities in Turkey.
Water is supplied by municipalities within the municipal borders. Water bills are charged on the basis of the amount of water you use.
Electricity, telephone, and water utilities are usually billed to the consumer monthly.
In cities where natural gas is supplied, gas central heating is the common practice. However, in coastal areas, solar energy heating and electric systems are widely used.
Electricity and Telecom companies are audited by the relevant Regulatory and Supervisory Authorities. According to the relevant laws, subscribers can complain about their suppliers in case of any disputes. Moreover, the Consumer Protection Law and the Competition Law are the two laws targeted to protect all consumers in Turkey.
It is suggested that as soon as you receive your TAPU, you immediately subscribe to electricity and water in your own name. All applications can usually be completed in one day.
Telecom services including ADSL Internet are available and can usually be arranged within a few days after application.
It is not uncommon for a deposit to be paid to the electric company especially if there is a history of bad debt by the previous owner of the property.
Many banks in Turkey provide direct debit services especially for payments to utility companies. In addition, if you reside outside Turkey, you can use management companies so that they can arrange to pay utility bills for you.
Where to buy furniture, white goods etc.
You don’t need to bring your furniture to Turkey. There are literally hundreds of stores offering a range of budget to high quality furniture in all regions of Turkey at very reasonable prices. Google for "mobilya" or "furniture Turkey" on the net to learn about available furniture options in Turkey.
Some of the biggest furniture companies whose web pages are in English are as follows:
We have stopped at some of the many roadside furniture workshops however & found quality & prices to be very good. We would therefore recommend you do the same before buying from the big stores.
The following web sites in English will give you an idea of costs associated for electronic and white goods such as fridges, ovens, washing machines etc.
In Turkey the product guarantee is all important and must be completed correctly and duly stamped by the retailer if you are to expect any service due to a product failure within the guarantee period. When we bought our cooker & washing machine (both with a 7 year guarantee) we were told we must not install them ourselves, but must call the manufacturer who would send an engineer to install them & then stamp the warranty card. We called the washing machine manufacturer who sent an engineer the following day, fitted the washing machine & asked if we wanted the cooker done as well. We were impressed !
Unlike the UK, the retailer is basically absolved once the product leaves the shop. For instance, a washing machine that stops working after a couple of weeks, you would normally take your case to the retailer. In Turkey, your recourse is with the manufacturers service department. No guarantee card - no service. It is suggested that you maintain a dossier of all guarantee cards so they can be found easily when required.
Residence Visa applications from the UK
If you wish to export your furniture or goods into Turkey a residency visa is a prior requirement.
For application in the UK, all documents for a residence visa must be submitted to the Turkish Consulate General at least eight weeks before the intended date of departure.
After obtaining the residence visa, you are required to register with the local police within a month following the arrival in Turkey in order to obtain a residence permit. If you wish to extend your permit for a further period, you should apply to the same police headquarters before the permit expires.
For visa application forms and more information, please have a look at
For the majority of people, when you initially enter Turkey you will have purchased a 3 month tourist visa. This visa is intended for short visits and covers you for up to 90 days.
The financial penalties for overstaying a visa have recently been reviewed and now charged cumulatively ie. the longer the breach of visa the higher the penalty.
If you intend to stay longer you have 2 options to remain legal....
1. Leave the country and re-enter and buy another tourist visa, or
2. Get a residence permit.
The first option is used by many people to renew their visas.
Some take a day trip to Samos by ferry and buy a new visa when they arrive back in Turkey.
The residence permit is the preferred method of making a longer term stay legal - and of course this is reflected in the prices charged. However, having residence does allow you to place your child in the Turkish state education system, be buried in Turkey and get discounted medical treatment in some private hospitals.
Getting the residence permit is not difficult if you know how. Some people use their estate agent or pay someone else to do it for them.
Here is the list of things you need before you set out to make the application.
16 passport size photos
3 complete copies of your passport - you must make sure you have enough time left on your passport for the number of years of residence you are applying for otherwise you will be limited to the period left till expiry on your passport.
Bank statements to prove that you have enough money to live in Turkey. (For anyone who is ever planning to move to Turkey in the future, it is prudent to open a Turkish bank account and deposit a little money now and then - it goes down well with the application process).
If you have your own house here, a copy of the TAPU or rental contract.
Your passport and old residence permit if you are renewing.
Enough Turkish money to pay the fees etc.
The current Resident Permit fees are:
1 Year 456YTL
This must be paid in Turkish currency.
Bear in mind all the offices that you will be dealing with are open from 9:00 am to 12:00 and 1:00 pm to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday.
Turkey is a country that is evolving and many changes abound in the legal systems, hence although we aim to provide the most up to date information here, we cannot accept any reponsibility or liability for the information contained herein. You are advised to employ the services of a qualified and registered legal representative at all stages of buying property in Turkey.
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Independent advice about buying overseas property
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