Turkish nationality law

Turkish nationality law is based primarily on the principle of jus sanguinis. Children who are born to a Turkish mother or a Turkish father (in or out of marriage) are Turkish citizens from birth. The intention to renounce Turkish citizenship (or acquire citizenship from another state) is submitted in Turkey by a petition to the highest administrative official in the concerned person's place of residence, and when overseas to the Turkish consulate. Documents processed by these authorities are forwarded to the Ministry of Interior for appropriate action.[1]

Turkish Citizenship Act
Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Enacted byGovernment of Turkey
Status: Current legislation

Definition of citizenship

Citizenship is defined in Article 66 of the Turkish constitution:

  • Everyone bound to the Turkish state through the bond of citizenship is a Turk.
  • The child of a Turkish father or a Turkish mother is a Turk.
  • Citizenship can be acquired under the conditions stipulated by law, and shall be forfeited only in cases determined by law.
  • No Turk shall be deprived of citizenship, unless he/she commits an act incompatible with loyalty to the motherland.
  • Recourse to the courts in appeal against the decisions and proceedings related to the deprivation of citizenship, shall not be denied.
1982 constitution., Article 66 (as amended on October 17, 2001)


A child adopted by a Turkish citizen automatically becomes a Turkish citizen if under 18 years old on the date the application for adoption was made. In some cases (although it is not required), those who have foreign names and are applying for Turkish citizenship change their name to a Turkish (but not necessarily a Muslim) name. Examples of people who have done this include football players Colin Kazim-Richards and Mehmet Aurélio.[2]

Loss of citizenship

There are different states of loss of citizenship in Turkey. The three are either, cancellation, revocation, or renunciation.

  • Loss of citizenship in Turkey may occur under Article 31 (Cancellation) where the national in question has misrepresented or concealed essential information in regards to his acquisition of Turkish nationality, Turkish nationality also may be revoked (Article 29) or renounced (Article 25), under the Turkish Citizenship Law (No: 12/6/2009 27256).

The Blue Card as a form of "Citizenship lite"

Former Turkish citizens who were forced to give up their Turkish citizenship (for example, because they have naturalized in a country that usually does not permit dual citizenship, such as Germany or Austria) can apply for the Blue Card (Mavi Kart), which gives them some citizens' rights back, e.g. the right to live and work in Turkey, the right to possess land or the right to inherit. Excluded from this "Citizenship lite" is the right to vote.


A foreign national may apply for nationalization if the following conditions are met:

  • Legal majority as defined by the laws of the applicant's country of origin or those of Turkey in the case of stateless persons,
  • Residence in Turkey for an uninterrupted period of five years prior to the application,
  • Intention to settle in Turkey and demonstration thereof,
  • No risk to public health,
  • Good moral character,
  • Adequate command of the Turkish language,
  • Sufficient income for his or her own livelihood and that of any dependants in Turkey,
  • No threat to national security or public order.

Meeting these conditions does not give a foreign national an absolute right to Turkish citizenship.

A foreign national who has been married to a Turkish citizen for three years and is still married to that partner may apply for naturalization under a different set of conditions:

  • Residence with the Turkish spouse (exceptions granted if the Turkish spouse dies after application is lodged),
  • Absence of acts jeopardising the marriage,
  • No threat to national security or public order.

Following a successful application, the naturalised spouse may retain their Turkish citizenship if the marriage should subsequently be dissolved, so long as both partners had entered into the marriage in good faith.[3]

Citizenship by Investment

Since 18 September 2018, Law No 5901 disposes that foreign citizens investing in Turkey will be granted the right to apply for Turkish citizenship.[4]

Foreigners who meet any of the following criteria may be eligible for Turkish citizenship:

  • Made a minimum fixed capital investment of USD 500,000 or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish lira, as attested by the Ministry of Industry and Technology,
  • Acquired a property worth a minimum of USD 250,000 or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish lira with a title deed restriction on its resale for at least three years, as attested by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization,
  • Created jobs for at least 50 people, as attested by the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services,
  • Deposited at least USD 500,000 or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish lira in banks operating in Turkey with the condition not to withdraw the same for at least three years, as attested by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency,
  • Bought at least USD 500,000 or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish lira worth of government bonds with the condition that they cannot be sold for at least three years, as attested by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance,
  • Bought at least USD 500,000 or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish lira worth of real estate investment fund share or venture capital investment fund share with the condition that they cannot be sold for at least three years, as attested by the Capital Markets Board of Turkey​​[5]

The investment made and claimed by the foreign national will be monitored and confirmed by the relevant Government authority. Once the investment is confirmed by the relevant governmental authority, the foreign national will be granted Turkish citizenship.[6]

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is possible in Turkish law.

The laws of Turkey provide for acquisition of Turkish citizenship based on one's descent—by birth to a Turkish citizen parent (or parents) in Turkey and also by birth abroad to a Turkish citizen parent (or parents)—regardless of the other nationalities a person might acquire at birth. Children born in Turkey to foreign citizens do not have a claim to Turkish citizenship, unless one of the parents is also a Turkish citizen or the child would otherwise be stateless.[3] The automatic acquisition (or retention) of a foreign nationality does not affect Turkish citizenship. Turkish laws have no provisions requiring citizens who are born with dual nationality to choose one nationality over the other when they become adults.

While recognizing the existence of dual nationality and permitting Turkish citizens to have other nationalities, the Turkish government requires that those who apply for another nationality inform the relevant Turkish authority (the nearest Turkish embassy or consulate abroad) and provide the original naturalisation certificate, Turkish birth certificate, document attesting to completion of military service (for males), marriage certificate (if applicable) and four photographs. Dual nationals are not required to use a Turkish passport to enter and leave Turkey; it is permitted to travel with a valid foreign passport (or national ID card for some nationals) and the Turkish National ID card.

Since not all countries allow dual citizenship, Turks must sometimes give up their Turkish citizenship in order to naturalise as citizens of another country.

Visa requirements for Turkish citizens

Holders of an ordinary Turkish passport may travel without a visa, or with a visa received upon arrival, to 117 countries, as of 1 January 2019 according to the Visa Restrictions Index.[7]

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Turkey also provides a special sort of "passport for foreigners" to citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, to enable them to travel freely, as this country is generally not recognized and the local passports are not accepted as valid travel documents in some countries.

Citizens of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus are also entitled to become citizens of Turkey if they wish and apply to do so. They are exempt from the above criteria. The only criterion is that they are born Turkish Cypriots, i.e., of a Turkish Cypriot mother or father.

See also


  1. "Turkish Citizenship Law" (PDF). 29 May 2009. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
  2. From Bury to Brazil, the rise of a boy called Colin Kazim-Richards Times Online. Retrieved on 2009-04-13.
  3. "Turkish Citizenship Law" (PDF). 29 May 2009. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  4. "ACQUIRING PROPERTY AND CITIZENSHIP". www.invest.gov.tr/. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  6. "Amendments Ease Access to Turkish Citizenship for Foreign Investors - Invest in Turkey". https://www.invest.gov.tr/en/investmentguide/pages/acquiring-property-and-citizenship.aspx. Retrieved 2017-02-10. External link in |website= (help)
  7. "Compare Passports Power | The Passport Index 2019". Passport Index - All the world's passports in one place. Retrieved 2019-07-14.

Further reading

  • Sozuer, Adem; Yasar, H. Nuri; Tarhanli, Turgut; Narli, Nilufer (April 2005). "Türkiye'nin ulusal kimlik meselesi". Hukuki Perspektif Dergisi (in Turkish). 3: 137–166.
  • Çağaptay, Soner (2005-12-15). Islam, Secularism and Nationalism in Modern Turkey: Who Is A Turk?. Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern History. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-38458-2.
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