Greeks are buying up in Turkey

Eighty-one years after the exchange of populations that followed the 1919-22 Greco-Turkish war, Greeks top the list of foreign nationals buying real estate in Turkey, a report said yesterday. Turkey’s Anatolia news agency said that out of the 41,000 properties that have been purchased by foreigners, Greeks own 12,557. The second-largest group of investors in Turkish real estate are the Germans, who have bought 10,827 properties. In July 2003, Turkey passed new legislation easing restrictions on the purchase of land by foreign nationals. According to the report, most Greeks have invested in properties in Istanbul and the Aegean littoral. Syrian nationals have bought some 4,500 Turkish properties, followed by Britons (4,000) and Dutch (1,500). Under the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, the only Greeks allowed to remain in Turkey were the populations of Istanbul, Imvros and Tenedos. However, heavy restrictions on the transfer of property and pogroms in 1955 forced most of Turkey’s Greeks to flee the country. Fewer than 2,500 now remain in Istanbul.