Turkey’s citizenship-for-investment scheme is exacerbating a housing crisis in Istanbul by attracting global investors and driving up real estate prices amid significant socio-economic challenges like high child poverty and food inflation, as detailed in a New Left Review (NLR) article.
In the recent NLR article by Marco D’Eramo, titled “Selling Citizenship,” Turkey is highlighted as a key player in the global citizenship-by-investment market, attracting interest due to its unique combination of economic strength and strategic position. With over half of the world’s citizenship-by-investment schemes reportedly taking place in Turkey, the nation stands out as an attractive destination for affluent expatriates.
“Turkey may not be an EU member, but it has other advantages,” the author notes. Istanbul, a major metropolis, offers a viable and desirable lifestyle for wealthy foreign investors. Initially attracting applicants from Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Egypt, the trend has now expanded to include nationals from a diverse selection of regions including Dubai, Ukraine and Pakistan.
The article further notes:
* Housing prices are on the rise in Istanbul, with Turkey a generally attractive environment for real estate investments;
* Over half of the world’s citizenship-by-investment schemes reportedly take place in Turkey;
* However, Turkey has the second-highest child poverty rate among any of the generally highly-developed Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries at 33.8%, second after Colombia);
*Turkey also has high rates of child marriage, and the OECD’s highest rates of inflation in food prices at 72%;
* Turkey also receives significant funds from Brussels (6 billion Euros annually) for preventing Syrian, Afghan and other refugees from entering the EU.
A significant draw for investors, especially Iranians, is the devaluation of the Turkish lira and the country’s high inflation rate, making real estate investments particularly advantageous. The draw of purchasing power for Iranians in Turkey, especially in real estate, is demonstrated by the fact that Iranians are currently buying an average of 10,000 housing units per year in Turkey.
However, this rise in foreign investment and citizenship sales is juxtaposed against Turkey’s ongoing socio-economic challenges. Commentators reacted by linking the rise in Istanbul’s housing prices to Turkey’s role in controlling migration to the EU, and the large payments it receives in return.
Reactions to the article underscore concerns about human rights and migration issues, with commentators expressing hope that the EU Commission is effectively addressing these areas.