Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship

Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship

Av. Galina Sarayina & Stj. Av. Abdulkerim Gökalp

Temmuz 2017

There are two regulations related to the acquisition of Turkish Citizenship. One of them is Turkish Citizenship Law and the other one is the Regulation for the Implementation of Turkish Citizenship Law.

According the Turkish Citizenship Law (TCL), Turkish Citizenship is acquired by birth or after birth.

One of the ways for acquiring the citizenship “by birth” is defined under Article-6 of TCL, which states that this process is based on either place of birth or descent. Getting citizenship by descent is the basic rule, on the other hand, getting a citizenship by place of birth is the secondary rule.  This means that if you are born either in Turkey or abroad to Turkish Citizen mother or through father, whether in or out of wedlock, you are a Turkish citizen. However, if you are born in Turkey and both of your father and mother are not Turkish citizens and you cannot acquire any other citizenship, you are deemed to be a Turkish Citizen.

    The other way of acquiringthe Turkish Citizenship “after birth” is defined under Article-9 and subsequent articles of TCL. These articles indicate that this process could be fulfilled by three methods: Decision of the competent authority, adoption or using the right to choice.   

    The method called as the decision of the competent authority comprises of four different forms. Article-11 of TCL regulates the ordinary way to acquire Turkish Citizenship by the decision of the competent authority and it stipulates various conditions as follows;

a) being at the age of majority and having the capacity to act either according to his/her own national law or, if he/she is stateless, according to Turkish law,
b) having been resident in Turkey continuously for five years preceding the date
of his/her application,
c)    verifying his/her determination to settle down in Turkey with his/her manners,
d) having no disease constituting a danger to the public health,
e) having a good moral character,
f) being able to speak a sufficient level of Turkish,
g) having income or profession to provide for maintenance for himself/herself and
his/her dependants in Turkey,
h) having no quality constituting a threat to national security and public order.  

The second form of the acquisition of Turkish Citizenship by the decision of the competent authority is referred to as the exceptional way and it is defined under Article-12 of TCL. This way is applicable mostly to people serving Turkey in various fields such as technology, investments, sports, etc. 

Turkish government intends to make conditions of this citizenship procedure for such people easier. Pursuant to the Implementation of TCL, the government expanded the exceptional procedure with the decision of the Council of Ministers on 11/02/2010. According to this amendment, foreigners who meet the following criteria can apply for Turkish Citizenship:

    Proven by the Ministry of Economy to make fixed capital investment in the amount of minimum USD 2.000.000,
    Proven by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanism to purchase real estate in the amount of minimum USD 1.000.000 provided that the registered Title Deed is not sold for three years,
    Proven by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to provide employment for at least 100 people,
    Proven by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency to deposit minimum USD 3.000.000 in banks operating in Turkey provided that such amount shall be kept in the banks for three years,
    Proven by the Undersecreteriat of Treasury to purchase State debt instruments in the amount of minimum USD 3.000.000 provided that such instruments are kept for three years.

The third form of the acquisition of Turkish Citizenship by the decision of the competent authority is marriage with a Turkish Citizen. Applicants are required to have been resident in Turkey for at least 3 years instead of 5 years (Article-16 of TCL). Furthermore the application must fulfill following conditions;

    living within the unity of marriage,
    abstaining from acts incompatible with the unity of marriage,
    not constituting a threat to national security and public order.
The fourth form is called reacquisition that is only applicable for the ex-citizen of Turkey and it is explained under Article-14 of the TCL.

In addition to the decision of the competent authority, there are also two more methods. These are adoption and using the right of choice to obtain Turkish Citizenship. These procedures don’t require the consent of the competent authority. 

Acquiring citizenship by adoption is defined under Article-17 of TCL. A minor child adopted by a Turkish citizen can acquire Turkish Citizenship provided that he/she is not a threat to national security and public order.

Acquisition of citizenship by using the right of choice is constituted under Article-21 of the TCL. If a child loses his/her Turkish Citizenship because of the choice of his/her parents, he/she can choose to be a Turkish citizen within 3 years from the date he/she reaches the age of majority.

In conclusion, there are many ways to get Turkish Citizenship and Turkish government enacted a lot of regulations to make this procedure easier and faster. Under the current rules, the acquisition of Turkish Citizenship can be briefly summarized as follows:

1.)    acquisition by birth
2.)    acquisition after birth

    A-) acquisition by a decision of the component authority
         a-) ordinary way 
        b-) exceptional way
        c-) reacquisition
        d-) marriage

    B-) adoption

    C-) use of the right of choice


Galina Sarayina & Abdulkerim Gökalp
Attorney At Law & Trainee Lawyer