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Exclusive White House Property Turkey

Contemporary design meets classic flair in this amazing White House design by Place Overseas, take a look at the stunning video on property Turkey for sale.

How to get a Turkish Residence Permit

Every year, thousands of people apply for Turkey Residence Permits, Here explains exactly a step by step guide to getting a Turkish Residence Permit.

How to set up a business in Turkey

A guide to setting up a business in Turkey, all you need to know about business in Turkey.

A complete guide to buying property in Turkey

A guide for buyers in purchasing property in Turkey. How to purchase property and the laws and requirements surrounding real estate in Turkey.

A guide to living in Istanbul

All you need to know about life in Istanbul for expats and those living in Turkey. Check out our complete guide to Istanbul.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Retiring in Turkey – the low down


Living out your golden years in Turkey is a tempting prospect. The summers are long and so are the beaches. Living costs are low and, depending on where you are, you’re well positioned to take advantage of low-cost carriers for quick trips back to see your family.

Of course, it’s not all plain sailing. What about health care? Visas? Driving? Language barriers? Here’s a few things you’ll need to take into consideration. For clarification or any other issue, please call us.

Visas

As we’ve already discussed over the past few weeks, you’re still able to do the visa hop every 90 days to renew your tourist visa. However, if you’d like to avoid this hassle, it’s best to apply for a residence permit.

Health insurance

Unfortunately, Turkey lacks a public health system, and the European Health Insurance Card isn’t valid. You’ll need to cover your own health expenses. If you’re lucky enough to have private health insurance, check that you’re covered in Turkey. If you don’t, it’s worth looking into private insurance. You can be insured from your own country or you can use a reputable Turkish-based insurance company such as:

* Anadolu Sigorta
* Acibadem Sigorta
* Aksigorta
* Allianz Sigorta
* Axa Sigorta
* Yapi Kredi Sigorta



Language

It’s not essential to learn Turkish, especially if you’re living in built-up areas. However, learning a few words will help you ease your transition and forge relationships with the local population. There are a number of organisations that help foreign nationals learn the lingo.

* Cactus Language
* TOMER
* Language Teaching
* Culture and Communication Skills Consultancy
* Tutorcom
* Reed Co

Stay in contact

Hopefully you’ll remember to tell your family and friends where you’re going. Believe me, they won’t thank you when they feel like a Turkish holiday and want to use your spare room. And you’ll be gazing forlornly at the letterbox come Christmas time when you haven’t received a single card. More boringly, don’t forget to inform the tax office and any relevant pension organisations of your whereabouts. 

It’s also a good idea to register at your local consulate. In case of any natural disasters or emergencies consular staff will be able to track you down and provide any relevant help.
Also make sure you inform your electoral office so when election day rolls around you’re still eligible to cast your vote.


Driving in Turkey

If you arrive in Turkey on a tourist visa you can keep your car in the country for six months in a 12-month period. If you leave the country during this period you can either take your car out of the country or to a customs depot.

It’s fine to bring your car into Turkey permanently if you’re retired – as long as you have a residence permit. You’ll need to register your vehicle at the Turkish Touring and Automobile Club
For this you’ll need the following documents: your passport, residence permit, retirement documents (translated into Turkish), car registration documents and a written guarantee stating that you will pay the customs duties should you leave Turkey permanently without your car. 

The TTAC will then give you a permit which you can take to the nearest customs office and register with them.

You can also buy a car in Turkey, providing you have a residence permit. In this case, you must insure the vehicle, and in many cases you will need to get a Turkish drivers’ licence - although you should check with your consulate to see if your country's licence is relevant in Turkey first. To obtain a Turkish licence you will need to have your home country’s licence translated into Turkish and notarised. You’ll also need an application form, three passport photos, a residence permit and a medical certificate from a Turkish hospital. For more information see here


Pets

Thankfully, you won’t have to leave Rover or Fluffy behind. However, you won't be able to bring the whole menagerie: you can currently bring just one dog, cat, bird or ten fish with you. You'll need legal advice if you'd like to bring more. 

Dogs must have rabies, parva, distemper, hepatitis and leptospiroz vaccinations and cats must be vaccinated against rabies. This must be done more than 6 months and no less than 15 days before you travel

You'll also need your pet's health records and a veterinary health certificate issued no more than ten days before departure. These papers will need to be stamped by your home country's agriculture department before you leave.

Don't forget to check with your airline to find out what you’ll need to do to transport them over. 

Pension payments

If you’re from the UK, you’ll need a Life Certificate, which you can get from the Department of Work and Pensions. This proves that you’re still alive and eligible for pension. You’ll need to fill this out and return it to Pension Services asap.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Ancient dildo unearthed in Turkey

Last week, a church. This week a dildo has been unearthed in ancient Myra in Turkey.

Swedish scientists were left scratching their heads at the object, which is around four inches long and .8 inches in diameter, as reported by LiveScience.



"Your mind and my mind wanders away to make this interpretation about what it looks like - for you and me, it signals this erected-penis-like shape," said one of the archaeologists working on the excavation in Antalya.

He suggested that as well as its obvious use, the object might a tool, such as to chip flakes of flint in ancient Turkey.

Archaeologists also discovered an ancient Roman personal care set at the site, in the Antalya district of Demre. A 1800-year-old pair of bronze tweezers and a manicure rasp were included in the set.

"Now, we are aware that the Lycian women of the Roman period 1,800 years ago in Turkey were living well-groomed by using a pair of tweezers, rasp and mirror," an archaologist said.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Tory MP slams EU for its treatment of Turkey

"If I were Turkish, I would be against EU membership," claims Tory MP and self-confessed Turcophile Daniel Hannan.

Hannan's column in the Telegraph lambasts the EU for its shoddy mistreatment of Turkey as it bids for membership, and suggests membership is actually the last thing Turkey needs:
Turkey is a dynamic country with – in marked contrast to the EU – a young population. The last thing it needs is the 48-hour week, the Common Agricultural Policy, the euro and the rest of the apparatus of Brussels corporatism. Why tie yourself to a shrinking part of the world economy when you have teeming new markets to your east? Why submit to rule by people who barely trouble to hide their contempt for you?


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Turkey tourist visa changes on hold

The Turkish government has reversed the visa changes that were reported last week.

Following a meeting between the British Ambassador and the Turkish Minister of the Interior, the Minister has confirmed the proposed rule change has been delayed. All ports of entry have been informed and you will once again be able to do the visa hop every 90 days.

However, don't get too complacent because the changes are likely to take place at some point in the future. We will keep you updated.

Please see the consulate website for more information.

David Cameron promises to fight for Turkey's EU membership

David Cameron has promised to fight for Turkey's entry into the EU, and has said he's 'angry' at the slow pace of negotiations.

Cameron is currently on his first trip to the country as prime minister, and is hoping to boost trade between the UK and Turkey, whose strong economy has made it attractive to outside investment. Cameron is meeting with Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan to thresh out a new strategic partnership.

 Cameron enjoys the ever-popular Turkish kebab on his first trip to the country as PM.

The PM has also expressed his anger at the speed (or lack thereof) that Turkey's EU bid is progressing. He said Turkey could be come a "great European power", helping forge links with the Middle East.

A European Union without Turkey at its heart was "not stronger but weaker... not more secure but less... not richer but poorer".

Cameron has vowed to champion Turkey's cause at the "top table of European diplomacy".

As well as bridging the Eastern gap and allowing stronger trade links with Europe, Turkey's EU ascension would mean rising property prices for the popular holiday destination

Victoria Beckham on the cover of Vogue

Posh Spice has made her fifth appearance as a Vogue cover girl - this time in Turkey.

Doesn't she look nice? Although it looks like she could do with a couple of kebabs.

See more pictures here.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Talks held over Turkish holiday visa

Following these posts from last week, Voices Newspaper is reporting that talks are being held today between British and Turkish officials.

The visa change will affect hundreds of people with property in Turkey who prefer to do a visa run every 90 days to renew their tourist visa. The changes, which came about on July 14, mean tourists will be able to stay in the country for 90 days every 180 days.

Voices is reporting that British embassy officials will meet with the Turkish Foreign Ministry to find out why the change has taken place - especially as they had no warning that changes were at hand.

Residents are now faced with the prospect of buying expensive residence visas.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Turkey's tourist visa changes, continued...

Following this post, The Fethiye Times has published pictures of the old and new visa stickers.

To find out how to apply for a residence permit, see here.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

A Turkish retirement in Kalkan

An article in Today's Zaman features British couple John and Amanda, who retired to their property in Kalkan three years ago.

Although many people slow down when they retire, this dynamic couple are now too busy to even watch the telly! John runs a successful news website and Amanda has joined a Kalkan painting group and is filling their villa with her artwork.



It's an enviable lifestyle, all right - and beautiful Kalkan is arguably one of  the best places in Turkey to enjoy retirement. In John's own words:
For both of us, retirement in Kalkan has brought new opportunities and lots of new friends. There are so many things we love about living in Kalkan that I don’t know where to begin! We love living by the Med, the friendly people, the warm climate, the history that’s all around you, the excellent food, the relaxed atmosphere and the wonderful social life. We’re fortunate to have a number of Turkish friends and we do try to get involved in the local Turkish community as well as the expat network.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Important Turkish visa changes

New visa rules mean that it’ll be easier than ever before to holiday in Turkey – but if you’re a resident you may be facing extra costs.

The rules regarding Turkish tourist visas changed last week, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara. Tourists from 63 countries will be affected by the changes, which aim to standardise visa rules.

Visitors may now stay in Turkey for 90 days within an 180-day period. Previously, tourists were issued a visa that lasted for 90 consecutive days including the date of arrival.

If you have one of the old visas and you wish to renew it, the new visa will reflect the new changes.

Confused? Let me explain how the new rules will affect different individuals.

The holidaymaker

Let’s say you wish to visit Turkey twice in one year. Under the old rules, if you wanted to visit in, say, May for two weeks and again in August for a further two weeks, you would need to buy two visas. However, with the new rules, you can buy one visa in May and that will last you for your August visit too – providing you don’t stay in Turkey longer than 90 days in total. In this scenario, you’d save the cost of one visa: 15 euros.

The holiday home owner

Here’s another example. You might own a property in Antalya and you make short visits every three months. Under the old rules this would require four visas each year. Under the new rules, you will require just two visas as two visas will together span 360 days, allowing you 90 days in the first half of the year and 90 in the second. Again, you save the cost of two visas per person: 30 euros.

The resident

If you spend most of your year living in Turkey, you’ll be familiar with the visa run – making a short trip out of the country, to Greece for example, every 90 days to renew your visa. However – under the new rules you would not be allowed to return to Turkey – because you have already been in Turkey for 90 days within the 180-day period. You will need to either buy a residence permit to stay legally in Turkey, OR leave the country for three months. Purchasing a permit is expensive (the cost varies per nationality but it’s presently around 500 euros for Brits) and so you’ll lose out financially this way.


However, the British Embassy in Turkey explains here that their office has only been advised orally and official confirmation is still pending. We will let you know more when we find out.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Swimming between two continents

Around 800 swimmers swam from Asia to Europe on Sunday.

The athletes were old, young, able-bodied and disabled, and hailed from more than 40 countries. The 22nd Bosphorous cross-continental swimming, rowing and canoeing race took place over 6.5 kilometres, between the narrowest points of the strait, the body of water that traditionally divides Istanbul.

The first race was held in 1989, with just 68 participants. Now, people travel from around Europe and the world to Istanbul to compete.

The winner was Turk Hasan Musluoglu, with a time of 41 minutres and 20 seconds.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Ancient church unearthed in Antalya

A 900-year-old Byzantine church has been discovered in the ancient city of Myra in Antalya.

The church, thought to have been built in the 12th century, was found six metres below the earth and although the 10-metre-high dome has been destroyed, the roof tiles and general structure were in good condition.

Ancient rock tombs in Myra.

Myra was once the capital city of the mighty Lycian empire. Its remains are visible today, north of Demre, which is on the Kas-Finke road. It's not known when it was founded as there's no mention of it in literature before the first century BC.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Getting married in Turkey: Part II

Following on from yesterday's post about what to do before you leave home, today we're going one step further - what to do when you get to Turkey.



What if you don't have a Certificate of No Impediment?

If you do NOT have a certificate of no impediment from your home country, you will need to stay in Turkey for 21 days prior to your wedding, during which time a notice will be posted in the consulate building. On the 22nd day you will be issued with a certificate of no impediment in Turkish. Check with your British Consulate in Turkey to find out how to acquire this certificate.

Whether you got your certificate in your home country or in Turkey, you’ll need to have it legalised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara or the Governor in Antalya, Istanbul or Izmir. Make sure you take along all the documentation you used to apply for the certificate – plus your passport, tourist visa and recent passport photos.

Medical examination

Under Turkish Civil Law you are required to undergo a medical examination at a state hospital if you’re intending to marry. There will be a fee, variable from hospital to hospital. You may be asked to take a blood test but this will depend on the region of Turkey you wish to marry in. Take an interpreter or a friend who speaks good Turkish along with you.


Visiting the marriage office

Now you’re ready to apply to your local Turkish marriage office, giving notice of your intention to marry. This application will cost £115 per person and must be paid in Turkish Lira at the current exchange rate. Once again, take all your documentation with you. Once this is completed, you’ll be able to fix a date for your ceremony.

Now onto the part you've been waiting for: the ceremony.



What kind of ceremony should I have?

Civil ceremony

These are the only legally recognised weddings in Turkey. They will usually be performed by the local registrar and the procedure will take around ten minutes. The ceremony will be conducted in Turkish so you will need a translator on hand. You’ll also need two witnesses – neither of whom can be family members.

Religious ceremony

Religious ceremonies of any denomination can be performed only after the couple has had a civil ceremony, as a religious ceremony is not legally binding in Turkey. If you’d like to get married via a religious ceremony you may prefer to get married in your home country first.

After the wedding

Once the ceremony has been performed you’ll receive a marriage certificate and a marriage book. Although your marriage is legal in Turkey unfortunately you won’t be able to register it back home until you’ve taken your marriage certificate to the nearest Turkish Consulate to have it translated into English and legalised. The document can then be sent to the General Registrar Office in your country, where it will be kept on file. If you need a copy of your marriage certificate in the future the GRO will issue you with one.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Getting married in Turkey: Part I

If it’s your dream to say ‘I do’ on a beautiful Mediterranean beach, Turkey makes an ideal setting. The country has become popular in the last few years with couples wanting an exotic location for their wedding – but one that doesn’t break the bank.

But before you get carried away with plans for your dream day, you’ll need to deal with the least romantic aspect: the bureaucracy. 



Before you leave

Before you get hitched in your dream Mediterranean setting, you must meet the legal requirements for both your home country and Turkey. Below you’ll find details of what you’ll need to do if you’re from the UK. For US citizen’s the process is very similar. For more details, however, check here.

Firstly, the would-be bride and groom must get a Certificate of No Impediment from their local registry office. This proves to officials that you’re both footloose and fancy free and able to marry each other. 

You'll need:
  • Birth certificate (a notarised copy is acceptable)
  • Divorce decree or death certificate (if previously married)
  • If you have changed your name you will need to bring your change of name deed poll
  • Newspaper advertisement showing your marriage declaration. You must include the whole page so the date can be seen. Your intended marriage must be advertised for seven days so if the paper is a daily edition you will need seven days’ worth of advertisements.
  • Sworn affidavit
  • Special delivery envelope (for your documents’ return)
  • Fee (£64.80. You will need to pay another £64.80 when you pick up your certificate).
This will take around 21 days to process, and during this time banns will be posted in the register office. 



Once you receive your certificate you will need to send it to either the British Consulate General in Izmir or Istanbul, or the British vice-Consulate in Antalya, or the British Embassy in Ankara so your certificate can be translated into Turkish.

The certificate is valid for six months, unless you obtain it in Scotland, in which case it’s valid for three months.

Tomorrow: what should you do if you’re already in Turkey and DON’T have a Certificate of No Impediment? And what kind of ceremony should you have?

Monday, 12 July 2010

The rise and rise of golf in Turkey

I'm a bit late with this, but there was a good article in the FT recently about the development of golf in Turkey.

Although Turkey's not a traditional golfing nation - around one in a thousand people play golf - the country is rapidly becoming known as a golfing destination and a whopping 100 new courses are expected to be created over the next four years. 



Belek is especially popular, with 14 golf courses and more on the cards. Belek golf property is expected to rise in value, if comparable Mediterranean golf property in Spain is anything to go by. International tours are increasingly heading to Turkey, which makes the property even more marketable. 

Although there are few courses in the country where you can buy golf property on the actual course, there are many superb homes just a stone's throw from the country's finest courses. Rental potential is very high for these properties. Be warned, however: while there is a good beach nearby and a few shops, Belek is very much about golf. If you don't live and breathe the game you may find it slightly stifling!

Turkish authorities are also keen to get more people involved in golf, and are actively promoting the game to young people and families. There are a number of schemes that aim to get underpriviliged children golfing, too.


Friday, 9 July 2010

'Prospects are sunny in Turkey'

 Sunny prospects: Investors are eyeing opportunities in Turkey.

According to the Daily Mail, Turkey is set to be this year's "property success".

Tourism's up, the infrastructure is rapidly improving and the economy, which was left largely unscathed by the events of the past two years, is looking very healthy.

The article points out that areas like Antalya, Istanbul and Izmir are looking very attractive to investors aiming to capitalise on the country's European Union hopes and the increasing number of visitors.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Buying a property in Turkey – the nitty gritty

The process of buying a property in Turkey isn’t as hard as you think – as long as you know what you’re doing. And that’s why we’re here. If you have any questions please contact us.



Who can buy property in Turkey?

Most foreign nationals can buy property in Turkey, providing:
  • There is a reciprocal agreement between Turkey’s government and the puchaser’s government. These countries include the UK, European Union countries, the USA and Russia.
  • The property lies within the boundaries of a municipal area with more than 2000 registered inhabitants.
  • -The property does not lie within a military zone.


Negotiating the sale

Having found your ideal property, you will need a contract between yourself and the seller, agreeing the price and the dates of transfer. Your agent can take care of this for you. You will then need to take two passport sized photos of the person whose name is to go on the property deed, and a photocopy of your passport. Then, you can go to the title deed (tapu) office to make your application. 

Once the deposit is paid to the seller, the tapu is sent to the local municipality, who will in turn send it to the Army Office in Izmir, since in Turkey, the Army Office must give their permission before the sale can be completed. This may take up to eight weeks.

The remaining balance will be paid at a date negotiated between yourself and the seller, usually when the tapu has been transferred. Again, your agent can take care of all this for you.


Laws

Different properties are subject to different laws, depending on the location. This advice is general, so it’s best to talk to an expert if you want to find out about the laws of your particular area.


Costs

As well as the purchase price of your property, expect to incur the following costs. These costs are approximate and subject to change, please ask us for more information.

  • Estate agency fee: check with your agents. Usually around 3 to 4 per cent of the purchase price.
  • Legal Notary Office: 132 €
  • Sworn Translator: $38 €)
  • Photographs: 15 €)
  • Purchase Tax: 132 €
  • Land Registration: 659 €
  • Earthquake Insurance (compulsory): 52 €


Property registration and delivery

In Turkey, a Property Registry Department official must enter your property details into the register. Both the seller and the buyer must be present, unless you have authorised someone to stand on your behalf (see Power of attorney, below). 

Transferring property deeds is the next step, and a rather crucial one, as this will prove the property belongs to you. Title deed (tapu) transfers may only happen once the property is completed (if it’s a new build) and the full amount has been paid. You and the seller will need to both sign the title deed and have an official at your local tapu office also sign and stamp the document.



Power of attorney

As the buyer it may not be convenient for you to travel to Turkey just to complete some paperwork. You may authorise a power of attorney to sign necessary documents and carry out procedures on the Turkish side for you. Make sure this person is trustworthy and qualified – you’re trusting them with your finances!

If you have any questions about this process or about buying property in Turkey, please contact us or check out our buyer's guide.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Day trips around Fethiye

So, you’ve seen Fethiye’s Lycian rock tombs, the museum and the nearby amphitheatre. You’ve lazed on the beach, gone parasailing and eaten one too many meze platters. What’s next? Here’s a suggestion: hire a car, hop on a local bus or catch a ferry and explore the local area. There are so many things to do in this beautiful area, it would be a shame to miss out.


Rhodes

One of the most popular of all the Greek islands, Rhodes is just a 90-minute hop, skip and a jump across the water. It’s popular with shoppers and sunseekers, and there are a number of great restaurants and sunny beaches. Those who explore a little further into the depths of this intriguing island will find much more. The island has a rich history, full of pirates and crusaders, and there are a number of ruins to explore – including the walled crusader town. There is too much to write about here, I suggest you take a look here for a few quick ideas of what to do on the island.

Note: Make sure you make a reservation at least a day in advance. You may need to submit your passport overnight for registration.

Getting there

Ferries leave regularly from Fethiye in the summer months. See this site for the timetables and fares.



Saklikent Gorge

At 20 kilometres in length, Saklikent Gorge is the second-largest gorge in Europe. It’s a pretty impressive place where sheer walls soar to great heights and leave the canyon bottom cool, damp and shady in the summer heat. Only four kilometres of the canyon is walkable, and that’s just during summer – it’s too dangerous to walk here during the winter because of the high water levels, so the gorge is only open to tourists from April 1 to September 30.
On your arrival, you’ll see the entrance to the gorge under the bridge over a large stream. Cross the narrow walkway extending from the rock wall, which will take you into the gorge. Once you’re there, you’ll see the Ulupinar springs, where water gushes up from the base of the cliffs. Wade through the stream into the gorge to begin your walk. 

If you like adventure, some tour operators offer canyoning or tubing trips to the area. If you’d prefer to chill out, there are a number of relaxing teahouses. There are also a number of restaurants where you can feast on fresh river trout.

Getting there

By car: exit the Fethiye-Antalya Highway after Kemer, where you’ll see a signpost pointing the way to Saklikent. Drive for 21km.

Public transport: Grab a dolmus from the city centre, or flag one down on the main road. The trip should take about 40 minutes.

Kayakoy

Wandering through Turkey’s atmospheric ghost town may send a shiver down your spine. Hundreds of abandoned buildings, including a church, a school and a great many houses, sit quietly in this beautiful valley. The history is just as intriguing as all the empty buildings: the former Greek population left Kayakoy after the 1923 population exchange, leaving the houses empty for the eventual return of the Turks from Greece. Except none of them returned, leaving the valley empty. Today, you can wander around the abandoned buildings, enjoying the silence and the mystery. The surrounding area is full of wildlife, and it’s possible to explore the valley on foot or on horseback.

Getting there

By car: travel from the back of Fethiye town centre and take the road up the hill past the tomb of King Amyntas. The road to Kayakoy is signposted with signs indicating its old Greek name: Karmylassos. Follow the zig-zagging road up the hill and then down right into the village.

By dolmus: take a dolmus from the big, white central mosque. Ask for the Kayakoy dolmus.



Butterfly Valley

Between June and September, this stunning secluded valley is home to hundreds of species of butterflies, including the unique Jersey tiger-moth butterfly, and countless wildflower varieties.
The valley lies in a canyon; its steep cliffs jut 350 metres into the sky and the valley stretches back four kilometres from the beach.

There aren’t many facilities at the valley, not even electricity. There’s a small restaurant and a few simple beach huts. So what can you do here? Just wander around, enjoy the flowers and try and identify some of the many butterflies that are attracted to this beautiful place.

Getting there

There are no roads to this hidden valley, so you’ll need to take a boat from Fethiye. You can either take one of the regular boats to the valley or join a blue cruise.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Coro St star campaigns for Fethiye's dolphins

Television star Helen Worth - aka Coronation Street's Gail - visited Fethiye last week to check out its dolphinarium. The actor is the patron of the international wildlife charity Born Free, and went to Turkey to see what she could discover about the ongoing dolphinarium debate.

“Is this kind of business really worth the pain?” says Corrie 
Street actor and Born Free Patron, Helen when she visited Fethiye last 
Friday.

Read about Helen's visit here.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Bodrum's cheaper than Brighton

The Daily Mail reports that researchers have looked at week-long holiday expenses for a family of four and discovered that it's actually cheaper to head to sunny Bodrum than it is to travel to the south coast beach town of Brighton.

Which would you prefer?

Brighton ...



... or Bodrum?

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Is it safe to buy property in North Cyprus?




Northern Cyprus has a complex recent history. The Turkish occupation in 1974 caused many Greek Cypriots to flee, in many cases abandoning their homes and posessions. The country is much more settled now, and talks between northern and southern leaders hope to establish strong ties between the two sides. However, there are ongoing problems with property ownership as Greek Cypriots displaced in the 1970s seek to reclaim their land. This was highlighted by the unfortunate case of the Orams.

Today's guest blogger, Cameron Deggin of Place Overseas, talks about what to consider if you're hoping to buy property in Northern Cyprus:

"Prior to 1974, Turks and Greeks lived in a mixed state on the island.  There were Greek districts and Turkish districts, andsome were mixed.  In 1974, Turkey used its rights under the 1960 constitution of the Republic of Cyprus to intervene on the grounds that the Turkish minority rights (30/70 population Turks to Greeks) were violated.  

In the years following the intervention, a population exchange programme was implemented with the supervision of United Nations. Greek Cypriots were moved to the south and Turkish Cypriots were moved to the north. Since 1974 the island has been divided under a Greek and a Turkish administration; the former referred to as Republic of Cyprus and the latter is Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).  The TRNC is not internationally recognised. 
 
In the years following 1974, the Turkish administration distributed land and property to Turkish Cypriot refugees from the south under the exchange programme, which sought to value land and property abandoned in the south and compensate the refugees with land and property abandoned by the Greeks who had moved to the south.  The Turkish administration issued TRNC title deeds to their refugees.  

Therefore, a TRNC title deed for Northern Cyprus property issued under the exchange programme to a Turkish Cypriot, who prior to 1974 lived in the south of the island, mainly belonged to Greek Cypriots, who now live in the south.  Turkish administration holds the view that the island is now separated and north is a different country and as such there will be no going back to south or vice versa.  Therefore whatever is in the north is a TRNC title and can rightfully be bought and sold as such. The issue arises due to the fact that Greek Cypriot administration does not recognise title deeds issued by TRNC, neither does the European Union (who does not recognise TRNC). The Greek administration holds the view that the current state of the island is transient and Greeks still have rightful ownership of land in the north.  

Therefore, the internationally recognised title deeds are the deeds issued by Republic of Cyprus or those that were in place prior to 1974.  This point was brought to the UK and EU courts in a decisive case held at the European Court of Justice several months ago. The Court supported the viewpoint of the Greek Cyprus courts, which is the only recognised legislation on the island.

So in theory, if a prior Greek owner challenges an exchange land, as far as EU courts are concerned, TRNC title is not recognised and a subsequent owner may be asked to give the land back to the Greek owner and pay compensation. However, the Greeks can no longer go to the Court unless they first seek resolve in the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) located in the TRNC.  

To make matters even more complicated, the European Court of Justice, in an attempt to block further controversial trials instigated by Greeks, ruled that Greeks will first need to ask Turkish Cypriot IPC to solve the matter.  Well, the IPC is not likely to hold in favour of Greeks but is likely to delay matters further and further. In short, it's a rather tangled web. 


So, as a foreign buyer, what should you do?
  • Take the risk and buy exchange property,  which is cheaper than Pre 74 Turkish title property;
  • Take no risks and purchase pre 74 Turkish Title property in North Cyprus; property and land that always were in the hands of Turkish Cypriots prior to 1974, basically Turkish titles issued prior to 1974;
  • Move your focus some 40 miles to the north of Cyprus and look at Turkish coastline, which incidentally is more beautiful and lot more colourful. Property in Turkey is still a great bet for investment, permanent and holiday homes.
It's a complex matter, so if you have any questions at all about buying property in Northern Cyprus, please contact Cameron Deggin.