Monday, October 6, 2008

Points of Controversy in Turkey on Foreign Home Ownership

The foreign purchase of real estate is a widely discussed subject in the Turkish media and among the public. Some of the opinions put forth in this context may not be based on sound facts, while others are results of in-depth studies.[6] Opponents of liberalisation and internationalisation of the real estate market in Turkey also made allusions based on interpretations of evolutions in Spain and Israel.
Another issue which will inevitably arise is the concern over the specific case of Greek nationals. Despite EU pressures, a national land registry system in full legal clarity is yet to be fully established in Greece (except in the Dodecanese, where the system was set up during the Italian rule between 1912-1945). Thus, a legal move questioning whether there could be reciprocity with a country without a land registry system was indeed launched under the auspices of opposition CHP party, before the application covering the new law in general was made to the Constitutional Court and set the agenda. The issue will almost certainly not be dismissed easily by proponents of a liberal property market. In addition, there are also occasional reports of a more sensational nature, usually specific to some sections of the media. These relate to Israeli or Arab investors buying land en masse in the prospering Southeastern Anatolia Project region, politically-minded purchases in the Black Sea region or in Eastern Anatolia, where sizable communities of Pontic Greeks or Armenians previously lived.
The challenge for the Turkish government will be to negotiate a path which satisfies the sceptical elements within Turkish politics and among the public, while at the same time appeasing liberals and satisfying the open-market criteria which the E.U. expects from Turkey as it moves towards accession.
On a more specific and strictly professional focus, the ongoing efforts by Turkey's real estate agents to demarcate the definition and the boundaries of their profession and to discourage occasional and non-professional intermediaries away should also be mentioned. The compulsory norms to be respected in order to exercise the profession are still rather recent (since 2004). Real estate agents are required to be members to and exhibit their membership of the association set up for their region (such as Kusemder for Kuşadası, or Maremder for Marmaris). These local associations are gathered within the framework of the national federation, Temfed, which provides a full list of the regional associations.

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