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Turkey to slash the price of its Citizenship by Investment Programme

Updated: Jun 12, 2018

Since its announcement back in January 2017, the Turkey citizenship by investment (CBI) programme has proved to be somewhat of a disappointment.

Brought about as a means to overcome its current financial strain and to attract new investors to the country, the CBI programme was expected to help bring in a tidy sum of at least US $10 billion in foreign exchange for the country, according to central bank data. The programme was designed so that the potential investor would need to make a realty purchase of at least US $1 million and would be unable to sell the property for three years after which point they would be offered citizenship in the country.

It came as a bit of a shock to officials when this programme proved unsuccessful with recent data provided by the Turkish Statistical Institute showing that property sales in Turkey have actually been on the decline over the past few months. A key reason for why the programme may not have gained traction is that many consider the US $1 million investment in property to be quite a high bar to obtain a Turkish citizenship.

Currently, the Turkish passport allows visa-free access to 110 countries around the globe. This may help partially explain the reason for the lack of interest in the programme. Especially, as there are many CBI programmes that offer better terms in both investment and passport power, for example, the Caribbean island of St Kitts and Nevis, ranked 26th on the passport index and offering visa-free access to 141 destinations around the world, provides a far more competitive investment opportunity to the one in Turkey.  This is also only one of a list of similar CBI schemes spread throughout several Caribbean countries.

Additionally, a little closer to home, several European countries offer similar citizenship/residency programmes which, for a similar sized investment, give potential investors access to the European Union.

All of these factors are equally likely to have contributed to the failure of the Turkish CBI scheme. Hence, it's no wonder that the Turkish government plans to revamp the scheme by lowering the minimum investment amount to US $300,000 to qualify for the programme as well as simplifying red tape around the programme in a bid to salvage the programme.


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