Turkey on Jan. 6 announced in the government’s official newspaper that now, in order to earn Turkish citizenship, one must invest foreign currency, not Turkish Lira, in the country. In order to gain a Turkish passport, one must now invest at least $500,000 in the country or purchase a real estate worth more than $250,000.
Formerly, in order to earn Turkish citizenship through investment, one could invest in foreign currency or the Turkish lira equivalent. If one made a fixed-term investment, a real estate purchase, or kept securities in a Turkish bank for a fixed amount of time, one could be granted a Turkish citizenship. Now, however, the expression “Turkish lira” has been removed from the new regulation.
The foreign currency obtained from the sale of property to foreigners will be sold to the Central Bank through a local bank and converted into Turkish lira.
This decision comes amidst an economic crisis in Turkey and the depletion of the Central Bank reserves. On Dec. 20, 2021, when the lira reached over 18.0 to the dollar, the Turkish government ostensibly sold off billions in foreign currency to bolster the domestic currency. According to Reuters, the Central Bank’s reserves a week ago stood at their lowest level since 2002.
Despite the new requirement, the monetary value of the required investment has not changed. According to an appendage to the announcement, the foreign currency will be deposited into Turkish banks and is required to be kept in Turkish lira in the country. The money must remain in the country for a minimum of three years.
Those eligible for citizenship include those who the Ministry of Industry and Technology determines have made at least a $500,000 investment in the country, those who have spent at least $250,000 on property in Turkey and kept that property for at least three years, those determined by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security to employ at least 50 people, those determined to have deposited at least $500,000 into Turkish banks and kept it there for at least three years, those who have purchased and kept for three years at least $500,000 in government debt, or those who have made a venture capital or property fund purchase of at least $500,000.