Why Turkey is experiencing a real estate boom despite Corona

Istanbul Yusuf Yüregil is actually mayor, but now he feels like a real estate agent. Almost every day the head of the village of Ge on the Turkish south coast drives to the district office. People from all over the world buy land in his village, including Germany and France for example. However, the plots in the village are less popular than the large-scale fields in the area. “Almost half of all fields around the place have been sold,” says Yüregil, “and at prices like those in the larger tourist resorts.”

A real estate boom set in in Turkey during the Covid-19 pandemic. This not only increases the risk of a bubble. As early as September 2019, the Istanbul stock exchange described “explosive behavior” on the Turkish real estate market in its own study. But the boom continues, despite the pandemic.

In the three summer months alone, properties with a total value of 89 billion lira (9.6 billion euros) changed hands. Prices rose by an average of 35 percent during this period, and in some provinces by as much as 82 percent. This is shown by data from the Turkish real estate exchange Gaboras. According to this, the demand for properties under 10,000 square meters, which are primarily in demand by private individuals, has increased rapidly.

The village of Ge, whose name the residents pronounce like “Gää”, could hardly be more picturesque. At an altitude of 700 meters, the village near the city of Fethiye with around 30 stone houses forms the beginning of a rugged peninsula that bears the name “Yediburun”, in German it means “The Seven Noses”. The approximately 50 inhabitants are all shepherds or school children to this day.

Over some dramatic rock formations it goes down to the Mediterranean Sea. From the village you can see the sun set over the sea all year round. You can also hear the waves crashing against the rocks from above. Small bays with stone beaches have emerged where they have made their way. Hiking trails now lead there. Nevertheless, the area was largely spared from tourism – at least so far.

Decades ago, extensive tourist centers with resorts and private beaches emerged both around 50 kilometers further north and south of the village. In the wake of the pandemic, more and more people apparently want to go to the countryside.

A worthwhile investment and space in itself

Penelope Sieper sees several reasons for the rapid increase in the Turkish real estate market. “Many properties are cheaper compared to France or Spain”, explains the real estate agent from Property Turkey from Bodrum, an already developed tourist region in Turkey. In addition, the other Mediterranean countries in particular were severely affected by the corona pandemic and are now again. The number of cases in Turkey is currently 2000 per day, with even the government now assuming five times the number of actual infections.

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While foreigners also benefit from the weak lira, residents can currently get extremely cheap loans from domestic banks. The pandemic has also created a new trend away from apartments to houses with gardens, away from the big city, says Sieper. “We are looking for both: a good investment and more space for yourself.” Her company conducted a survey of its own buyers and found out that in this case it is the worthwhile investment that moves people to buy a property in Turkey to buy.

You can see that in the prices. A French couple built a 2500 square meter house on the peninsula in 2011 with double sea views in two directions. The property cost 10,000 lira. At that time that was just under 5000 euros, today the equivalent would be around 1150 euros. Today you have to reckon with at least 150,000 lira (17,000 euros) per 1,000 square meters, sometimes up to 300,000 lira (32,000 euros). This corresponds to an increase of 60 times in less than ten years. At the same time, the lira has lost more than 75 percent of its value during the period.

It’s easy to do the math: real estate is particularly worthwhile for Turks who want to protect themselves from a further currency decline. This explains why, despite economic difficulties during the pandemic, the demand for land is increasing.

With digitization against botched property purchase

Another reason may be that the country’s government has made it much easier to buy real estate. Anyone who wants to buy a property in Turkey has to face the country’s excessive bureaucracy. At the same time, you can enjoy an almost completely digitized city administration, even in the farthest corners of the country.

Once the seller and buyer have come to an agreement, one of the two sides will make an appointment with the property office via the Internet. For this, the ID numbers of both parties are required, which in turn are linked to the respective mobile phone number.
If the date is confirmed, both buyer and seller will receive an SMS with the date and time for the official sales date. Shortly before the appointment, both of them receive another SMS with a code for the property tax. It is four percent of the property’s value and half is to be paid. The officers use the code to automatically see on their computers whether the transfers have been received.

Only from now on does it continue offline. In the “Akit Odasi” (sales room) both sides have to confirm that they are willing to buy or sell by their own will. A surveillance camera records everything. Then the transfer of the purchase amount is commissioned, then signed. Ten minutes later, the buyer has the land deed in his hands.

But anyone who has a plot of land in Turkey is far from being allowed to build a house. This requires a special permit in which everything is precisely defined: number of floors, ceiling height, distance to the neighboring property and the maximum floor area, which rarely exceeds 20 percent of the property size.

Such a permit is often missing, especially for agricultural land. Nor is it granted simply. Anyone who builds anyway risks a heavy penalty. In some cases, the city council even sends a demolition company over and razes the illegal construction to the ground – at the owner’s expense.

Many property owners are hoping for a building amnesty

Nevertheless, many are now taking the risk. Around the village of Ge one can see more and more shell structures, excavators and deliveries of cement sacks. The term “Kacak Yapi”, the illegal construction, is used more and more frequently in conversations in the only tea room in the village.

The village of Ge near Fethiye

As a result of the corona pandemic, more and more people in Turkey apparently want to move to the countryside.

(Photo: Ozan Demircan / Handelsblatt)

“First of all, we are building illegally,” says someone there who has just become a property owner. He is sure that many are doing this right now. And that politicians have no choice but to tolerate it for the time being. He doesn’t want to give his name, but does express his hope: “We are waiting for the next building amnesty.”

There was already one in 2018. At that time tens of thousands of illegal buildings in the country were legalized by fee. The outcry was great, also because houses in forests and nature reserves as well as unchecked buildings had been subsequently approved. The government, in turn, is making itself popular with the rising middle class and with builders. Those responsible in Ankara called the project “Imar Barisi”, in German “Baufrieden”.

The village mayor Yüregil can hardly resist the trend. Because he sells cement and other building materials in his main job, he earns money from the semi-silk construction boom. The new property owners, on the other hand, are playing for time – to be precise until 2023. “In three years at the latest, there will be elections,” says one in the tea room, “by then there will certainly be another amnesty.”

More: Turkish economy in dire straits: Either inflation is rising or bankruptcies are threatened.

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With the election of Ersin Tatar, Turkey extends its grip in Northern Cyprus

With the election of Ersin Tatar, Turkey extends its grip in Northern Cyprus

Will leave, will not leave? Like many in North Cyprus, Mehmet, a tourist agent, wonders how much he has three passports: British, Greek Cypriot and North Cypriot “Which is useless because with you can only go to Turkey”. However, he fears precisely this “mother country”, represented by Ersin Tatar, the candidate of Ankara, elected Sunday, October 18 President of the Turkish Republic (self-proclaimed) of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) with 51.7% of the vote, against the outgoing president Mustafa Akinci, supporter of the reunification of the island. ” Ersin Tatar is going to make our country a Turkish province and we will become second-class Turkish citizens ”, Mehmet worries.

Her mother Asya disagrees. She lived through the years of lead when the Greek Cypriot extremists dreamed of throwing the Turkish Cypriots into the water: “ The Turkish army is there to protect us, we are too small to make our voice heard. She will defend our rights. “

Tatar was quick to thank the Turkish president

From her house built in Kyrinia, a former Greek Cypriot coastal town where the Turkish military invasion began in July 1974, Muguet, a retired music teacher, is worried. Her father was killed by Greek nationalists in the 1950s. She wanted to believe in reunification, in the form of a federation as defended by Mustafa Akinci.

For years, she has resisted the rising nationalist wave on the island by continuing to call the town where she lives by her Greek name, “Kyrinia” and not by her Turkish name “Girne” and go ” on the other side “, sing with your choir. Muguet will not leave, but she is aware that the page has been turned and is angry with the Greek Cypriots. « The reunification talks were off to a good start, but they collapsed during negotiations in Switzerland in 2017. Now Ersin Tatar wants two separate states. Turkey supports it. What will our future be? she asks. Here we say the hand you can’t bite, lick it. Is that what awaits us? “

Cyprus serves Turkish ambitions in the Mediterranean

At the time when relations with Greece were in good shape, in 2010, Recep Tayip Erdogan asked the then presidential winner, the nationalist Dervis Eroglu, a supporter of two states, “To continue the talks with a view to reunification”. Since then Turkey’s European perspective has receded and Cyprus has become an essential part of its policy of expansion in the Eastern Mediterranean.

→ READ. Mediterranean: military exercise for four EU countries amid Greek-Turkish tensions

Under the guise of protecting the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots, of which he is the legal guarantor, the Turkish president claims for the TRNC a continental shelf and a larger maritime exclusive economic zone. The day before the second ballot, Ankara presented the map of its sea rescue zone which includes half of the Aegean Sea with nearly a hundred inhabited Greek islands and deserted islets and archipelagos. “We have become Erdogan’s geopolitical pawns, Mehmet blurted out. Until now, we were freer than in Turkey, but it will not last. ”


Fire break in Libya (newspaper Junge Welt)

Amru Salahuddien / XinHua / dpa

It remains to be seen whether the ceasefire will last: A man in front of damaged buildings in Tripoli (May 9, 2020)

The two main war factions in Libya have agreed on a ceasefire. The UN Assistance Mission for Libya (UNSMIL) announced on Friday. Accordingly, the fighting should be permanently stopped throughout the country. This was preceded by talks in Geneva, for which five representatives of the so-called consensus government in Tripoli and the east Libyan General Khalifa Haftar had met since Monday.

The ceasefire agreement also includes the opening of roads and air links between the territories in western and eastern Libya that control the two warring factions. On Friday, for the first time in more than a year, a passenger plane took off from Tripoli for the east Libyan metropolis of Benghasi. In addition, oil production is to be resumed. The German company Wintershall Dea, which has been producing and exporting crude oil on a large scale in Libya for a long time, is interested in this. The ceasefire is to be followed by political negotiations in Tunisia in November on a permanent solution to the conflict.

The power-political basis of the ceasefire is a stalemate that has set in in Libya in recent months. Since the spring the militias of the “consensus government” in Tripoli had repulsed the Haftar troops, which had already stood at the gates of the capital, with considerable support from Turkey. The offensive ended to the west of the port city of Sirte and thus also to the west of important oil terminals and fields. The reason for this was that Egypt threatened to invade. Cairo and the United Arab Emirates support Haftar in the war in Libya. Both countries are trying to put a stop to Turkey’s ambitions to become a regional power in the Middle East – not least because Ankara relies on the influential international structures of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in its striving for power, which includes both the military in Cairo and those in Abu View Dhabi dictatorial ruling clans as their worst enemy. Egypt would not have tolerated a further advance of the troops of the “consensus government”, which like its Turkish ally itself is closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

It remains to be seen whether the ceasefire will actually last. The fact that the signing of the agreement in Geneva will go down in history, as the incumbent UN representative for Libya, Stephanie Williams, proudly announced on Friday, can confidently be seen as an election rattle: the American Williams was supported by the Trump administration been nominated for the post. Tensions in Libya itself remain high. Violent clashes also occur again and again between the militias of the “consensus government”. Without a viable balance of interests between the external powers supporting the conflicting parties, the chances of an actual end to the war in Libya are slim.

How complex the situation is became apparent on Thursday when representatives of the Turkish and Russian governments spoke in Moscow about the various conflicts in which the two countries support different sides. In addition to Syria and Azerbaijan, Libya, where Russia is supporting Haftar, was part of the overall package.


Turkish central bank waives rate hike – lira gives way

The Turkish national currency is on a downward slide.  Source: Reuters

The Turkish national currency is on a downward slide.

(Photo: Reuters)

Istanbul Contrary to the expectations of investors, the Turkish central bank will for the time being refrain from further interest rate hikes to stabilize the local currency, the lira. It left the key monetary policy rate on Thursday at 10.25 percent.

Experts had expected an increase of 1.75 percentage points. The monetary authorities started tightening interest rate reins in September, ending a long phase of monetary easing.

The lira has lost almost a quarter of its value against the dollar since the beginning of the year: the currency has been falling from record low to record low since the summer. After the interest rate decision, it gave way further.

The driver of the free fall is the inflation rate, which has risen to double-digit percentages. The country’s badly melted currency reserves have also accelerated the lira’s plunge.

In addition, tensions in the relationship with the EU and the USA as well as concerns about possible sanctions weigh on the currency of the emerging market. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a declared opponent of interest. He had played a key role in initiating the previous easing by the central bank and hoped that it would provide more boost to the economy.

More: Why the emerging markets are not an alternative for investors.

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Elections in Northern Cyprus: further escalation inevitable

In Northern Cyprus, Erdoğan’s governor Tatar was elected with a narrow majority. That doesn’t bode well for the dispute over the oil and gas discoveries.

Ersin Tatar celebrates his election victory Photo: Harun Ucar / reuters

The presidential elections in the north Cypriot, internationally not recognized Turkish part of the Mediterranean island led to a poor peacebuilding result. With the nationalist Ersin Tatar, a man who won the leadership position of the Turkish Cypriots last Sunday, albeit narrowly, who thinks little or nothing of negotiations with the Greek Cypriots.

One of the reasons why the dispute between Turkey, Greece and other Mediterranean countries has escalated so much in recent months is precisely the division of Cyprus and the unresolved political situation on the island.

Cyprus is a member of the European Union, and the Greek Cypriot government, which represents around 800,000 of the island’s 1 million inhabitants, is the internationally recognized government of Cyprus. But she has nothing to report on the northern third of the island, where around 200,000 Turkish Cypriots have lived since the division in 1974.

When large gas and oil reserves were discovered around Cyprus, the Cypriot government issued drilling licenses without considering the Turkish part of the island. Since then, Turkish President Erdoğan has been using this as an opportunity to send his own exploration ships into Cypriot waters, ostensibly to secure their share of the coming wealth for the Turks of Cyprus.

A solution to the dispute over raw materials in the eastern Mediterranean would be decidedly easier if the Greek and Turkish Cypriots overcame the division of the island and came back to a common government. In contrast to the previous president, the left Mustafa Akıncı, Sunday’s election winner, the right Ersin Tatar, is no longer ready to do so. He relies on Erdoğan and, if necessary, a union with the Turkish motherland instead of talks with the Cypriots on the other side of the demarcation line. Further voltages are programmed with it.


Ankara withdraws (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

A Syrian soldier near the Turkish “observation post” in Morek (August 24, 2019)

Anyone driving in Syria on the M 1 motorway from Hama to Aleppo will pass numerous Turkish military positions between Morek and Sarakeb. Ankara now wants to dissolve these military bases, as various media reported on Monday, citing Turkish sources. The largest is near Morek, around 30 kilometers north of Hama. It is surrounded by high walls and hermetically sealed off. The seemingly deserted bases are secured by sand walls, barbed wire and special walls that are supposed to protect against explosions. Turkish flags waving over the buildings indicate the positions.

Originally, as part of the Astana agreements with Russia and Iran, the establishment of twelve Turkish “observation posts” to secure the “Idlib de-escalation zone” was announced in 2017. In the course of time, however, up to 60 Turkish military posts were created on Syrian territory. Damascus and the population see the soldiers as occupiers and ask them to leave.

The task of the Turkish soldiers was to separate so-called moderate rebels from jihadists. However, Ankara supported fighters of the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies against the Syrian government. Internal contradictions also led to changes within the armed groups. The jihadists of the Al-Qaeda branch, Haiat Tahrir Al-Sham, were increasingly joining. Some fighters followed offers from Turkey to settle in Afrin or northeast Syria. Still others went to Libya or Nagorno-Karabakh as mercenaries for Ankara.

Since the Russian-Syrian offensive in Idlib at the end of 2019, many of the Turkish military bases have been surrounded by the Syrian army and had to be supplied by Russian convoys. Ankara now finally seems ready to give up the “observation posts” between Morek and Sarakeb. Allegedly, Russia refused to continue supplying the trapped Turkish soldiers.

The USA also operate in Idlib. The area is monitored with fighter jets and drones to “protect the safety of US allies,” as it is officially called. Targeted attacks have been carried out repeatedly. On Friday, US forces confirmed the killing of two al-Qaeda fighters in Idlib. In an email to the news portal Al-Monitor the US Central Command announced that a high-ranking representative of the Shura Council and a security officer of the jihadist group Huras Al-Din (religious guard) had been killed in a rocket attack.

Meanwhile, the US is trying to negotiate the release of US prisoners with the Syrian government. According to various media reports, two US officials are said to have been in Damascus in August 2020. The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Kash Patel, in charge of the “fight against terrorism” in the White House, had negotiated the release of two US citizens. The Syrian newspaper Al-Watan wrote that the second official was Ambassador Roger Carstens, in charge of hostage affairs at the US State Department. Patel and Carstens had met the head of the Syrian secret service Ali Mamluk.

Loud Wall Street Journal the US prisoners are Austin Tice and Majd Kamalmaz. Tice is a former US Marine who disappeared as a “freelance journalist” in Syria in 2012. Kamalmaz is a Syrian-American therapist who was arrested in 2017 and has since disappeared.

US President Donald Trump wrote a letter to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in March 2020 and proposed a “direct dialogue”. According to data from Al-Watan The Syrian side insisted on talking about the Americans only “when effective talks about the withdrawal of US troops from Syria begin.”


a new truce without effect

Early this Sunday morning, Baku and Yerevan were already accusing each other of having violated the ceasefire that entered into force on October 18 at midnight local time. As was the case a week earlier, after the first truce concluded in Moscow under pressure from Russian President Vladimir Putin. A first humanitarian ceasefire that was never respected, preventing the Red Cross from undertaking its mission of recovering the bodies of combatants abandoned on the “line of contact” and exchanging prisoners of war.

It took several days for diplomats from the Minsk group, co-chaired by France, Russia and the United States, to get Azerbaijan and Armenia to agree to endorse the text, based on the Moscow accords on Saturday. previous. A text obtained in the snatch, “but which is exactly the same for both parties, which had not happened for a long time ”, underlines a Western diplomat.

On the French side, a delegation visited Yerevan and Baku in the middle of the week, made up of Isabelle Dumont, the diplomatic unit of the Élysée, Frédéric Mondoloni, director of Continental Europe at the Quai d’Orsay, and by Stéphane Visconti, Ambassador Co-President of the Minsk Group. Russia went to great lengths to obtain this text. An hour and a half before the announcement of this second truce, the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, was still on the phone with his Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts.

Despite these efforts and the weight of Moscow, which has several levers to influence the decisions of Yerevan and Baku, pessimism reigns in the South Caucasus as to the chances of success of this new truce. Azerbaijan, which believes that it is only by putting military pressure on Nagorno-Karabakh that it will be able to force Yerevan to negotiate on the future of its province lost in 1994, believes more than ever in its ability to achieve the objectives he had set himself by launching the offensive on September 27.

Over the past week, Azerbaijani forces have made some breakthroughs south and north of the “line of contact”, retaking a handful of strategic positions. This Sunday afternoon, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliev announced again on his twitter account that his troops came from “plant the (national) flag on the old Khoudaferine bridge ”, near the Iranian border.

The Armenian forces of the de facto independent republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia barely resist the sophisticated weaponry available to the enemy, including hundreds of “suicide bombers” drones, and the technological and military support. advisers that Turkey brings him, according to numerous Western military sources. “Armenia surprises with its resilience as it leads a war of the 20th centurye century against a 21st century armye century», Notes Richard Giragossian, a political and military expert based in Yerevan.

SEE ALSO – Nagorno-Karabakh: why Armenia and Azerbaijan clash


Erdogan’s won bet in the northern part of Cyprus

Nationalist Ersin Tatar, supported by the Turkish president throughout the campaign, won the presidential election there on Sunday.

With 51.99% of the vote, Ersin Tatar was elected on Sunday, October 18, as President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
With 51.99% of the vote, Ersin Tatar, was elected, Sunday, October 18, to the presidency of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. STRINGER/REUTERS

Bet won for Erdogan. With the surprise election of a Proturc nationalist at the head of the North Cypriot, Ankara can claim victory. First in the second round on Sunday, October 18, Ersin Tatar, prime minister of the government, was not the favorite. According to forecasts, the outgoing Social Democratic president, Mustafa Akinci, had every chance of being re-elected. It is the strong participation of 67.29%, in particular on the part of Turkish voters from Anatolia, which would have contributed to the victory of his rival, with 51.99% of the vote.

In the midst of the Turkish-Greek crisis around the Mediterranean basin, the influence of the presidential palace also seems to have weighed heavily in the balance. “You know what happened during this election”, was quick to declare the loser in a thinly veiled allusion to Turkish interference. During the electoral campaign, the shadow of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has continued to float over northern Cyprus, occupied by Turkey since

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Paymaster wins (Junge Welt newspaper)

Election winner Ersin Tatar (2nd from right) at an event in front of his supporters in the northern part of the divided capital Nicosia on Sunday

Prime Minister Ersin Tatar won the runoff election for President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is only recognized by Ankara, against incumbent Mustafa Akinci. The 60-year-old right-wing nationalist Tatar won with 51.74 percent over the 72-year-old left-liberal Akinci with 48.26 percent.

The election, in which 67 percent of the approximately 200,000 eligible voters took part, was seen as pointing the way for the future of Cyprus. The Mediterranean island has been divided since a coup led by the Greek military junta against then Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios in 1974 and a subsequent Turkish invasion.

Akinci advocated reunification in the form of a federal state in line with United Nations initiatives and emphasized the independence of the Turkish-speaking Cypriots in relation to attempts at unification from Ankara. In contrast, Tatar advocates a two-state solution with a close connection between the northern part and the supposed “motherland” Turkey. Tatar, whose right-wing conservative party UBP actually functions as the Cypriot offshoot of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkish ruling party AKP, had the full support of Ankara during the election campaign.

Akinci, whose election was also called for by the third-placed Social Democratic candidate in the first ballot, was considered the favorite. The fact that a majority voted for Tatar as Ankara’s man may simply be due to the realistic assessment of many voters that the northern part of the island is completely dependent on financial support from the Turkish state budget. The paymaster was elected. In addition, the settlers who have immigrated from mainland Turkey since the invasion of 1974, many of whom come from the religious-conservative or fascist milieu, have fallen behind the traditionally secular Turkish-speaking Cypriots in their own country.

Incumbent Akinci said, according to the Turkish Cypriot news agency SO on Sunday evening doubts about the correctness of the choice. But he accepted his defeat and announced the end of his 45-year political career. His election five years ago had caused euphoria. In the meantime, however, many of his voters have become disappointed when they realize that nothing will seem to change in the Cyprus conflict without Ankara’s consent. After all, there are more than 30,000 Turkish occupation soldiers in the north of the island.

The presidential election in Northern Cyprus took place against the background of aggressively presented claims by Turkey for mining rights for undersea natural gas fields in Cypriot and Greek territorial waters. If the occupation of Northern Cyprus was a losing proposition for decades, the Turkish government hopes to finally get its money’s worth by accessing these gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean that have been discovered in recent years.

For this, Ankara not only needs a reliable governor in its Cypriot protectorate, it also strives for the recognition of the northern Cypriot state under international law. The prominent Turkish journalist Fehim Tastekin wrote an article for the liberal news site before the Cyprus election Newspaper Wall warned: “In Erdogan’s view, the peace plan has failed. From now on he favors the division! Maybe even an annexation! «UN Secretary General António Guterres has already announced a new round of Cyprus peace negotiations with the participation of the so-called guarantee powers Great Britain, Greece and Turkey.

In Northern Cyprus, a new government is about to be formed after the coalition previously led by Tatar collapsed two weeks ago when the smaller partner left. It can be assumed that the UBP is now relying on new parliamentary elections after its victory in the presidential election.