A general overview of the land registry and cadastre system in Turkey.
In our country, land registry is the registry maintained under inspection and supervision and strict liability of the State. Under Article 1007 of the Turkish Civil Law, the State is responsible for any losses arising out of the land registry maintained.
In Turkey, land registry procedures such as sale, grant, transfer by inheritance, and mortgage take place through land registry directorates only, and real estate ownership may be assigned by an official deed to be signed at the land registry directorates and registration.
It is also possible to sign “agreement for the promise of sale” before the notary public. However, an “agreement for the promise of sale” signed before the notary public or any contract of sale issued outside will only constitute a preliminary agreement that entitles one to request the real estate to be sold. It is not possible to transfer real estate ownership by an agreement for the promise of sale. One can apply to the land registry directorate of the place, where the real estate is located, for land registry procedure requests; and it is also possible to apply to any land registry directorate in Turkey or the land registry and cadastre representation offices abroad.
In our country, creation of initial cadastre started during the early years of the Republic and at present, the country’s cadastre is complete by 100%. Although cadastre procedures involving real estates, such as setting marks, land use conversion, parceling and land amalgamation are also performed by land registry directorates, some of these services may also be performed by Licensed Mapping and Cadastre Offices (LİHKAB) authorized under the Law No 5368.
Foreign natural persons, who would like to acquire real estates in our country:
- Should be citizens of the countries determined as eligible for acquisition of real estates and limited rights in rem in our country by the President and should meet the criteria for acquisition.
- Natural persons of foreign origin may acquire any real estate in areas where private property is allowed (residence, workplace, land, field etc.), provided that legal limitations are observed.
- If natural persons of foreign origin acquire unbuilt real estates (real estates with no built structures thereon, such as land and field), then a project is to be developed depending on the nature of the real estate and such project is to be submitted to the relevant Ministry for approval within two years. If the Ministry is not applied or the project is not completed within two years, then such real estate shall be subject to provisions on nationalization.
Only citizens of the countries determined by the Presidential Decree may acquire real estates and limited rights in rem in our country. However:
- Total area of real estates that may be acquired by a natural person of foreign origin throughout the country is maximum thirty hectares.
- Total area of the real estates that may be acquired by natural persons of foreign origin may not exceed ten percent of the area, where private property is allowed, in a district.
- Real estates located in military forbidden and security zones are designated in the registry records, and land registry directorates provide due information.
- Real estates located in military forbidden and security zones are entered into the land registry in 81 cities.
- The real estate intended for acquisition must not be located in areas determined as military forbidden and security zones or in other areas, where acquisition by foreign natural persons is forbidden.
- If the real estate intended for acquisition is included in a “Special Security Zone”, authorization is required from the governorship of the place, where the real estate is located.
- Natural persons of foreign origin and the incorporated companies established in foreign countries under the laws of their own countries are develop a project in relation with the unbuilt land they bought within two years and such project to be developed is to be submitted to the relevant Ministry for approval.
- Incorporated trading companies, which are established according to the laws of their own countries, may acquire real estates and limited rights in rem only in case there are special provisions in the applicable laws. Any legal persons other than such trading companies may not acquire real estates and may not have limited rights in rem created to their favor.
- Real estates that are acquired in violation of the provisions of the applicable laws, that are found to be in use to the contrary of the purpose of acquisition by the relevant ministry and administrations, and real estates, for which the relevant ministry is not applied within due time or for which the projects are not implemented within due time, are subject to provisions regarding disposal (For detailed information, circular no 2013/15,
COMPANIES WITH FOREIGN CAPITAL
- Incorporated companies established in Turkey may acquire real estates and limited rights in rem in order to operate as set forth in their articles of association. In order for a company to be accepted to have a status of a company with foreign capital, natural persons of foreign origin (except for Turkish citizens and the persons falling within the scope of article 28 of the Turkish Citizenship Law No 5901), legal persons established under the laws of foreign countries or international organizations should own 50% or more of the shares or should be authorized to appoint or dismiss majority of the persons authorized to manage.
- Provided that the provisions of the Military Forbidden Zones and Security Zones Law No 2565 will be reserved, acquisition of real estates by such companies will be subject to inquiry by governorships to determine whether they remain within military forbidden zones, military security zones and the zones defined within the framework of article 28 of the same Law (in areas to be determined upon suggestion of the General Staff due to proximity to military to forbidden zones or other strategic reasons). Such inquiry by the governorship takes place directly before the relevant and registry directorate and the land registry directorate responds within not later three business days. In case of acquisition of real estates within special security zones, on the other hand, authorization is required from the governorship of the place, where the real estate is located.
- Companies with foreign capital need to submit their “certificates of authorization” showing the authorized representatives as well as manner of representation and binding in their applications to acquire real estates. Certificate of authorization must clearly contain the authorization to acquire real estates and the personal particulars of the people authorized to act for the company and it must be dated the same year with the procedure.
- The letter of authorization pertaining to companies with foreign capital must include the phrase “Company with Foreign Capital within the Scope of Article 36 of the Land Registry Law No 2644”, and an application must be filed before the Urban Planning and Coordination Directorate of the Governorship with the necessary documentation under the Regulations Regarding Acquisition of Real Estate Ownership and Limited Rights in Rem by the Companies and Enterprises within the Scope of Article 36 of the Land Registry Law No 2644.
- The letter of authorization pertaining to other companies, on the other hand, must include the phrase “Company with Foreign Capital excluded from the Scope of Article 36 of the Land Registry Law No 2644”. The companies with such phrase in the letter of authorization in question, on the other hand, are treated like companies with national capital under article 36, and any requests in this respect are consummated directly by the land registry directorates within the framework of general principles.
- Companies with foreign capital excluded from the scope of article 36 may acquire real estates and limited rights in rem within the framework of the provisions governing companies with national capital and use and exercise the same. Real estates and limited rights in rem acquired to the contrary of the provision of such article shall be disposed within the period granted by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance. Otherwise, the real estate or the limited right in rem shall be received and an appropriate amount shall be assessed for the same and shall be paid to the right holder.
For further information please visit www.yourkeyturkey.gov.tr