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Ağaoğlu CEO Halisdemir: Second Home Turkey Program

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Ağaoğlu Group CEO Dr. Önder Halisdemir suggesting a new value, named “Ağaoğlu Second Home Program“, wrote about the benefits of the program which will contribute to Turkey’s economy.

Önder Halisdemir, Ağaoğlu CEO
Önder Halisdemir, Ağaoğlu CEO

Here is Halisdemir’s article about Second Home Program

We are a fortunate country because our first nation is Turkey. I have many friends who sometimes complain, but then say, “Thank God we are back in our own country”, after an overseas holiday. People realize the value of what they have better, when it seems that they might lose it. Don’t we have problems? We do. Are there not tens of things we wish were better? There are. However if you travel abroad a lot, or, if like me you have spent a part of your life abroad, if you think about it, you will realize that there are numerous different problems and things which need to be fixed in every country. And if you chat with the locals of the places you go to, you will see that the subjects of the complaints are not that different, and even that in some countries all hope is gone due to the negativity. You will appreciate our country more, the more contact you have abroad. Even more so when you begin to see what is underneath the gloss which is being scratched off, in the countries which have been made to shine for years, in these years when the world is experiencing more turmoil.

Developed countries always represent the hope of a better life and relative stability for developing countries. These countries also convert this hope for a better life and relative stability directly into investment and revenue for their countries. Today, 22 developed countries, such as America, Canada, Britain, Portugal and Spain, also offer the nationals of foreign countries, who purchase real estate from or invest in their countries, their own nationalities, within the scope of the programs they have developed. The programs they have announced start from 500 thousand Euros. They attract fresh money without any additional cost and direct investment in this way. Of course, at the same time, they are also adapting a qualified population with money to their countries.

We can immediately start to attract 45 billion dollars of direct investment. How do we do that?

When I moved to the real estate sector around a year ago, I directed my interest into this area. Those who know me know that I like to design a new business and bring it into being, use unused capacities, and be in harmony with the world. Many of the respected international awards received by the organizations I worked for, and by me personally, have all been as a result of a simple business idea being presented and brought to life in the most user friendly way. Together with my team, I have determined 3 macro projects for 2016. Like the other two, the first was related to a capacity which is not being used by our country. I would like to make the ‘Second Home Program’ the subject of this article.

Many countries are already doing this

We have determined the name of the program, whereby immediate residency permits are given to those who buy a real estate of a certain amount from our country, followed by automatic nationality after a certain time, subject to them meeting the required conditions, as ‘Second Home Turkey’. Developed countries currently implement similar programs. So, if developed countries implement similar programs, why shouldn’t we? If you think that no one will apply you are mistaken. We already let foreign nationals buy properties, in 2012. We can also give them residency permits – albeit with a lot of hassle. And the interest is not bad at all. We are actually doing something in fact, but as with many other areas, our marketing is weak. We do not focus on the experiences and ease of users. We need to look at the markets we compete with, see that the world does not revolve around us and transform this into a program which is simple to apply to and easy to operate, and then offer the perspective of nationality to those who meet the conditions. With my team, we have worked on this from its bureaucracy to the experiences of the customers / applicants. The value that emerges is huge – enough to close our current account deficit and put us in surplus.

We have already opened our arms and our country to 3 million Syrians, without expecting anything in return. The people of this country feel that it is the bequest of their ancestors to stand by every person in need in the world, without expecting anything in return. This is one of the biggest human characteristics that makes us who we are.

Foreign Real Estate Investment in Turkey Doubled

A direct investment of 35 billion dollars

Now, by creating a program to attract the citizens of the world who have money, we need to pull this money and qualified population into Turkey. Each of our cities has different charms, and in terms of stability, our country is more stable than our region, and indeed hundreds of other countries. Currently 23 thousand residential properties are being sold to foreign nationals a year. With this program, it will be possible to expect this figure to reach one hundred thousand a year. Spain, which has the advantage of being a member of Schengen has determined the program at 500 thousand Euros; we can do it at 350 thousand dollars. This will mean a direct investment of 35 billion dollars into our country, every year. With our passport, currently more than one hundred countries can be visited with a visa, or with a visa obtained at the gate of entry. If the expected developments are realized, entry into Europe without a visa will be another appealing factor.

The program will be 350 thousand dollars for Istanbul (it will be a minimum of 350 thousand dollars, and allow more than one property). We can also determine it as 250 thousand dollars for our other cities. In this way, the number of cities which receive investment will increase even more with this sweetener.

What are the benefits of the Second Home Turkey Program to our country?

The first and most important benefit is the 35 billion dollars of direct investment, which we will attract with 100 thousand applications a year. The appearance here is that this money buys real estate. However, the real estate sector feeds more than 200 different sectors. That is to say 200 sectors will also be selling their products and services, and the money they receive will again increase the assets of our country and be converted into investment. Real estate is the packaged form of the products of 200 sectors. It is the highest added value export product of our country. It provides only an influx of money, with almost zero imports. Let us also note to one side that this sector currently does not even receive any support for overseas exhibitions. That is to say, while incentives are given to many other sectors to assist them, none are available to the real estate sector, and despite this, it is still in the position of being our export product with the highest added value.

An additional revenue of 45 billion dollars

On the other hand, those who buy these properties are not able to take them somewhere else. The product stays in our country, and the economy of our country continues to derive benefit from it. There will be property and other taxes, insurance, furniture, the other living needs of these people, tourism, etc. Those who have purchased properties by spending a minimum of 350 thousand dollars, will have other money too, and they will bring that to our country. When we look at it in this way, with the most pessimistic calculation, if these 100 thousand people bring an additional 100 thousand dollars with them that makes a further 10 billion dollars. How much was our current account deficit? Sorry, I could not hear! 13 billion dollars, with all sorts of efforts and endeavors, and the impact of oil. That is to say, with the program which will create an additional revenue of 45 billion dollars – 35 billion dollars directly and 10 billion dollars additionally – it is just a matter of time for us to become a country which will have a current account surplus.

All properties which have obtained freehold status and those in the form of a project being purchased from qualified developers, but have not yet obtained freehold status, will be included in the program. In this way, the money that has come in will saturate down to and revitalize the ground level. It will come into our economy as well as into the accounts of individuals and companies. While the economy goes into surplus, from the aspect of the current account, individuals and companies will use the money, through their taxes, investments and expenditures, to revitalize every cell.

Why Real Estate?

If we are to direct our efforts towards individuals with money abroad, real estate is our most correct anchor product for now. Think of it from your own point of view. If you were going to invest in a country in order to obtain the nationality of that country, what would you want to invest in? To the investment instruments of the finance and capital markets of that country, despite limited information, or to real estate, which will both maintain its value, and allow you to get to know the country better, so that you can still invest in other things in the future? The answer, of course, would be real estate. Our individuals and companies, who have sold their properties, will direct the values they have received to our finance and capital markets, in any case, thereby ensuring these markets also benefit from this. Without doubt, we can add instruments such as deposits and treasury bonds to real estate, to meet the minimum amount of investment required. However, none of these will provide as positive and varied an impact on the economy as real estate will, while they would not be a preferred form of investment in any case. Indeed, the value in question from the program needs to be net. To repeat, the money of the individuals and companies, who sell their properties and receive money, are already going to be evaluated in the banks and finance and capital markets.

Foreign Investor Choice

So, we will be selling T.R. Nationality?

We are opening citizenship in the Republic of Turkey to the world, in return for a certain fee and with certain conditions. We are telling those who buy a final product in our country, for a serious amount of money, “If you bring the equivalent of this value to our country and do not damage our peace and public order for a minimum of 5 years, you can be a T.R. national.” If someone starts to cause damage, our laws will still be able to expel them. We have a population of eighty million people. We can close the program whenever we want. If we reach 1 million citizens of the world over the years, that means 350 billion dollars. This will pave the way for the investments which will make our country a much better country to live in.

When I first started to voice my ‘Second Home Turkey Program’ opinion in a whisper at the end of last year, there were a few people around me who at first thought, “Are we selling T.R. nationality?” without fully understanding the subject. However, when they did understand, and when the examples were explained, their concerns were resolved. Still, the fact that there was such a reaction led me to believe that it was necessary to address this thinking.

We share our land, our food and our jobs with millions of refugees – without any fee – when the need arises. Our history is full of examples of this. Now we will be sharing the citizenship of our country with those who have money, and the knowledge and skills to earn that money. That can only make us richer. Moreover, it is not going from us, but joining us.

Americans, Canadians, the British and even the Malaysians are open to sharing their nationality with someone who adds value to their country, and announces this through programs. That is the living proof of this.

Social Benefits

While this program will close our current account deficit, and turn it into a surplus, we will be able to create new employment with the resources we obtain and attract a qualified population to our country, I also believe that there is one other benefit which is just as important. That is making Nationality of the Republic of Turkey an item which is desired, and the value of which increases within the world. We will start thinking more tangibly about a series of steps which will be socially beneficial in terms of enhancing and developing its value. This program will also provide us concrete route maps towards the target of being a more livable country, which will be beneficial for the people of our country. The social and cultural benefits of this are so many as to require a separate article on their own.

Public support is necessary

We have and are continuously making the necessary attempts for this project, which I believe will bring very beneficial results for our country, to be brought to life by the decision makers, as soon as possible. However, the debating of it among the public, and the support it will receive is just as important, and will make things easier for the politicians. If you agree with me, then you should voice it too, so that altogether we can lead the way for this value to be brought into our country. So that our country achieves a current account surplus and continue its journey towards being a more livable country with more concrete targets, as soon as possible.

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