ECONOMY

Turkish law on foreign ownership

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s government aims to quickly pass a new law allowing foreigners to buy real estate, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan said yesterday, after a top court halted such sales last month. Unakitan said the new bill had been presented to cabinet members for signing, which is needed before it can go to parliament. «We will pass this law in the shortest time possible, I signed the draft with the changes in it today,» he told reporters. On March 12, the Constitutional Court canceled a law allowing property sales to foreign companies. The law was part of Turkey’s drive to boost growth and meet the legal standards of the European Union which it hopes to join. The court ruling was made after an appeal by the nationalist-minded opposition Republican People’s Party. Economists say Turkey needs real estate sales to foreigners to reduce the current account deficit and to boost boost employment and capital inflows. «Given the global credit turmoil, foreign individuals’ real estate purchases had already slowed down but they will completely stop until the government passes the necessary legislation through the parliament,» said Ali Riza Incekara, an analyst at Raymond James Securities. Foreign investors’ annual real estate purchases amounted to $3 billion for the past three years, accounting for about 8.5 percent of the current account deficit.