According to amendment on Law On Foreigners and International Protection No.6458 31th article subclause j; A short-term residence permit may be granted to those foreigners who does not work in Turkey but will make an investment within the scope and amount that shall be determined by the Council of Ministers, and their foreign spouses, his and her minor children or foreign dependent children.
In relation to that; according to Regulation on the Implementation of the Turkish Citizenship Law, article 20; foreigners who meet any of the following conditions would be eligible to acquire citizenship under the new regulations.
· Proven by Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency to have deposited at least USD 500,000 in banks operating in Turkey with the condition of not to withdraw for at least three years
· Proven by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation to have acquired an immovable property worth a minimum of USD 250,000 with a title deed restriction and minimum of USD 250,000 with an immovable sales contract of not to sell for at least three years.
After these amendments which eases access to Turkish citizenship for foreign investors; foreigners' interest in Turkish citizenship has increased and the number of applications have boosted.
The biggest question mark for the foreign investors who access to Turkish citizenship is; if they need to do military service or not. Our law Office and our team ,who have been experienced more than 100 citizenship applications ,has done many research on that question. The purpose of writing this article is answer the questions of foreign investors and releive their minds.
The conditions of compulsory military services of Turkish Citizens have been regulated in Military Duty Law No.1111. According to 4th article of this law every male Turkish citizen between the age of 20 and 41 is obligated to do the military duty.
However; there is an exemption for foreigners who acquired Turkish citizenship in 43rd article of this law. For those who acquired Turkish citizenship before the age of 21, should do their military duty as Turkish citizens of that age according to their age and education at the time of naturalization. If people who are citizens of other countries served their military service in where they are coming from and can prove that with the required documents they will be deemed to exempted. People who have obtained citizenship at the age of 22 years old - or older - are exempted from military service and their military service is suspended for two years from the date of naturalization, if they wish until the last year of their their postponements.
People who have obtained citizenship at the age of 22 years old - or older - are exempted from military service. However; as we explained above the children(under age 18) of the applicant will also obtain the citizenship so children under the age of 18 are not exempted from military service. As specified in code, If one ,who has obtained his Turkish citizenship before 22, served his duty military service in the country where his citizenship outside Turkey they will be deemed to exempted. For example; if a son of a chinese who obtained Turkish Citizenship by investing, serve his Military Service duty in China he is not going to serve this duty in Turkey again. But what if this child havent done his military service yet?
Military Service Postponement for those who acquired Turkish citizenship and Paid Military Service
The opportunity of postponement Military Service for those who have been abroad has been regulated in Tukish Military Duty Law No.111 article 38. According to this article;
For people who are residing abroad(with dual citizenship) and has been working as an employee, employer or concerning with a profession or art by having residence permit or/and work permit and those who have seaman status on foreign flagged ships.
In the event that they apply to the Turkish consulates with their documents that proving their status, their military service may be postponed until the end of the year in which they reach the age of 35 in accordance with the procedures and principles determined by the Ministry.
In other words, those who have dual citizenship rights residing in foreign countries can postpone military service until the age of 35. If foreign investors acquire Turkish citizenship later, their child under the age of 18 will benefit from this opportunity as well.
In addition to this matter; according to the article 39 of the same code Turkish citizens who reside outside Turkey and have worked for at least three consecutive years have the option to pay a certain fee to be exempt from mandatory military service. This requires a fee of 5.621 EURO and a theoretical military training as of August 2020. After this amount is paid and the distance education program determined by the ministry is completed, the military service will be completed.
Military Service Issue Regarding the Sons of Foreigner Investors (under age 18) who acquired Turkish Citizenship
It is explained above that; how will be treated about mandotory military issue to those their parents acquired a Turkish citizenship by investment in detail . However it does not mean that there will be no new amendments on this topic because; probably Turkish Citizenship through Investment program will be contiunally amended in coming years. As explained, The government has reduced the amount specified in the law for foreign investors to invest, to give a chance to the investors who wants to acquire citizenship more easily. The purpose of this regulation is improve the number of foreign investors in Turkey. It is determined/confirmed by the government that the biggest problem for the foreign investors is the mandotory military issue. The minister of economy made a statement about this issue and he came up with an explanation that they will make arrangements aiming solve the military problem for foreing investors. Even though there is no new regulation yet, it is apperant that the country who made important amendments and reduced the investigation amounts for foreigner investors will easily solve the military problem as well. We are keeping in touch with the Directorate General of Migration Management and they have been released the information that there will be new regulations for foreigner investors about their military issue.
There is an expectation that foreigner investors and their families will be held exempted from compulsory military. The minister of economy also announced that the government is making preparations to introduce a law about this topic. Doubtlessly; if there is a new development; our law firm will make a statement and come up with new explanations.
By Mirkan Günay Topcu, Attorney at Law.