According to a statement by Turkish deputy PM Ali Babacan, the country is set to make further accessions to attract foreign property buyers, potentially including longer residency visas for foreign buyers.
"Turkey should be more tolerant toward foreigners who buy houses and spend substantial amounts of money to spend time in Turkey," Babacan said during a speech in Cannes, where the world's largest real estate fair, MIPIM, is being held between March 12 and today.
Under the current system foreigners planning to buy in Turkey can stay in the country for 3 months on a tourist visa, but then they must leave the country for at least 3 months before another tourist visa can be obtained. This on top of what can be an exhaustive process to get a tourist visa in the first place, is a bit hurdle for potential foreign buyers.
"We're trying to increase these [tourist visa] periods to six months or one year because many visitors to our country wish to stay for more than three months," Turkish Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar said, confirming the news.
In recent years foreign purchases of Turkish property have increased, and particularly last year when Turkey put an end to the reciprocity rule, and opened up the country to buyers from 294 nationalities including those from the gulf Arab states. In May last year alone, foreign real estate acquisitions in Turkey reached $1.1 billion, four times the total amount in 2011.
Babacan highlighted the possible investment benefits of the regulation, suggesting that as these foreigners come and go, they would contribute to the Turkish economy by bringing business opportunities with them.
Babacan added that foreigners were increasingly seeking also to obtain Turkish citizenship, suggesting that there was substantial interest in the benefits and opportunities that a Turkish passport provided in the wider region.
"The residence permit is first, citizenship comes after, but with order. We need to appreciate the value of Turkish citizenship. It's not something to give away, we need to be careful," he said.
Babacan also said the efforts to ease the residence permit issue were ongoing and added that they expected to announce the outcome of the studies in a few weeks.