Arabs own more than 11 million square meters of real estate in Turkey: report

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This photograph taken on September 28, 2018, shows a fisherman at work beside waterside mansions on the Bosphorus River coast on the Asian side of Istanbul. They are among the most iconic sights of Istanbul -- magnificent waterside mansions strung out along the Bosphorus as the waters of the strait dividing Europe and Asia lap almost at their front doors. Once the preserve of the Ottoman elite and affluent foreigners working in what was Constantinople, these mansions, known as yalis, were made famous in novels and more recently modern Turkey's hugely successful soap operas. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Citizens of predominantly Arab countries own a total of 11,186,792 square meters (120,413,626 square feet) of real estate in Turkey, according to the figures announced by the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning, the Diken news website reported on Thursday.

In response to a written parliamentary inquiry by opposition deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu, the ministry said farms and unimproved land account for 7,274,668 square meters of real estate owned by Arab nationals.

As of February 2019 the number of residences and stores owned by citizens of Arab countries was at 54,507, accounting for 3,911,933 square meters of real estate in total.

Among provinces, İstanbul led in terms of real estate owned by Arabs with 2,540,357 square meters, followed by Bursa with 1,174,290 square meters and Sakarya with 93,750 square meters.

Citizens of Saudi Arabia were in the forefront of owners of Turkish real estate with 3,408,555 square meters, followed by Kuwaitis and Iraqis.

The figures represent a sharp increase compared to July 2003, when Arabs owned only 61,069 meter squares of real estate.

Amid the weakening of the Turkish lira against foreign currencies and the relative stagnation seen in the construction sector, the Turkish government has recently adopted a number of measures aimed at incentivizing real estate purchases for foreign nationals, including a facilitation of access to citizenship in return for investments over a certain threshold.

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