Monday, October 6, 2008

Historical Background

The issue of foreign purchases of real estate is associated with very bitter reminiscences in Turkey. During the weakening phase of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century and the global dominance of western colonialism, purchases without constraint and effective surveillance of real estate by the nationals and companies of western powers was one of the issues on which the Ottoman state had been subjected to the direst foreign pressures. As a consequence of these pressures, a 1858 firman on "Reform" had announced a grant of permission in this respect, but the necessary legal arrangements had been delayed till 1868. With the enactment of the 1868 regulation, according to one estimate, British capitalist-farmers (see Levantine mansions of İzmir) had almost immediately emerged as having acquired one third of all arable lands in the entire vilayet of İzmir (Aydın in name), possibly held in an indirect manner till then, and by 1878, the majority of the arable land in the same province. This trend coincided with the influx of refugees from lands lost for the Ottoman Empire, and the migrants often saw themselves having to buy property from foreigners in their own country.[3] A further law in 1913 also allowed foreign legal entities (companies, foundations etc.) to purchase property in Ottoman lands, with decisive effects for the early foundations of the state of Israel. A partial face-about by the Committee of Union and Progress, simultaneous to the outbreak of the World War I in Europe, was one of the causes for the deterioration of relations between Turkey and the Allied powers Britain, France and Italy. The Treaty of Lausanne which established modern Turkey laid a ground based on a strict understanding of reciprocity in the matter, on a bilateral and contractual bases as concluded with individual countries at first, and full legal reciprocity after 1934

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