Rise in Russian property purchases in Turkey, NATO’s weak link

Foreign buyers snapping up property in Turkey is nothing new, but the volume of purchases by Russians has nearly tripled year-on-year.

Questions are being asked about Turkey’s relationship with Russia, given the number of oligarchs who have parked their yachts along the country’s southern coast and Turkey’s tough talks about blocking Sweden and Russia. Finland to join NATO. In addition, the data analyzed by Newsweek from the Turkish Statistical Institute shows that Russian purchases of Turkish properties reached their highest level ever in April, up to 1,152 sales against 402 in April 2021.

Usually, buyers from Iran make up the largest cohort, followed closely by Iraq. But for the first time in the data, dating back to 2015, buyers from Russia are the largest group, followed by those from Iran with a total of 905 buyers.

Russian buyers of Turkish properties jumped as a percentage of all buyers, from 9.7% in March to 17.7%.

The number of Russian buyers of Turkish properties jumped in April 2022 to almost 18% of all buyers. Turkey’s relationship with Russia is in question as it seeks to block NATO membership for Sweden and Finland.

One of the attractions of buying a Turkish property, besides the beautiful coastline, is the fact that buyers can also obtain Turkish citizenship as part of the package.

In April, the Turkish government raised the property price threshold that confers citizenship. Foreigners will now have to pay $400,000 for a property and commit to keeping it for at least three years to obtain a Turkish passport. Previously, the figure was $250,000. Before 2017, it was $1 million, but was reduced in 2017 to attract more foreign buyers.

In response, the total number of foreign buyers in the Turkish real estate market increased from 22,400 in 2017 to 40,000 in 2018. The total fell during the pandemic, but in 2021 it was almost 60,000. Already in 2022, there are more than 21,000 foreign buyers in total.

The surge in purchases by Russians comes as Turkey faces economic difficulties. Inflation is now close to 70% and the Turkish lira has lost nearly half its value in the past year, dropping from around 8 liras to the dollar to over 15 today.

Turkey-Russia and Ukraine relations

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had close ties to Russia and President Vladimir Putin before the invasion of Ukraine. Since then, Erdoğan has called the invasion unacceptable but has ignored the sanctions implemented by (mainly) Western nations and seeks to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv.

Turkey’s block on Finland and Sweden joining NATO has been based on alleged Kurdish militants hosted by the two Nordic countries. At a press conference on Monday, Erdoğan said, “None of these countries has a clear and open attitude towards terrorist organizations. How can we trust them?”

All current members of NATO must accept the membership of new countries.

On Tuesday, Finland’s president said he was confident he could convince Turkey to accept its NATO bid “with the help of constructive discussions”, but earlier Erdoğan said delegates from Sweden and Finland shouldn’t bother to come to Ankara.

Turkey beach Antalya
Russians are now the largest group of property buyers in Turkey. Konyaalti Beach in Antalya, Turkey is pictured over a weekend in 2021.
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