Turkey is so misunderstood

Westerners interested in Plan Bs keep talking about Caribbean CBIs. But what do these passports bring to the table? They don’t improve your travel rights, and these countries are completely dependent on, and subject to, the West.

However they are great for salespeople as the commissions are interesting, and for people from developing countries with bad travel documents.

Recently Saint Kitts & Nevis suddenly raised the price of their passport to $250k after the EU threatened to remove visa-free Schengen access. Also, the EU stipulated that all the due diligence has to be done by companies in the EU or in the UK.

So what you have is a Plan B completely dependent on the powers you are trying to hedge against, and that shut their borders hard as soon something like Covid happens.

As a Westerner, the use case of such a passport is rather if your country refuses to renew your passport for whatever reason. In such a case a Caribbean passport could prove to be very useful as long as your are not in your country when this happens (you can’t leave a country with a different citizenship than the one you entered with).

I’m not saying don’t get one, but don’t think Caribbean passports are some sort of holy grail. Also, the “it’s a tax free country” argument doesn’t matter if you don’t actually become a tax resident there. And who amongst Caribbean passport investors actually moves to the Caribbean? Barely anyone.

If you can afford one and are realistic in terms of your expectations, then get one. Laszlo can help you with a second passport in the Caribbean. There is nothing wrong with them. My message is just that you need to be realistic and that you should not stretch your finances over such a passport.

And here comes the Turkish Citizenship by Investment, which Westerners love to hate

Most Westerners in the offshore space shun Turkey because of their own prejudice.

  • Liberals: “Ed0gAn bAd”
  • Conservatives: “MuSliMs”
  • Libertarians: “hIgH tAxeS”

The reality is that the Turkish Citizenship by Investment is:

  • The world’s best performing CBI, ever.
  • A great travel document if you exclude the Anglo-sphere and the EU. But again, as a Westerner, why would you need access to these countries? You already have access to them with your existing passport.
  • Unlike a donation, it is actually an Investment. $400k in local real estate. Not in overpriced “designated developments” but in any real estate in the whole country. You can get your Turkish passport AND make money if you play your cards right. I have investments in Turkey and they are doing great.
  • Turkey is not subject to the West, unlike all these little islands. It is a regional power in its own right. This is a true geopolitical hedge.
  • Turkey has even more diplomatic representation and outposts than theUK. It has huge soft power across the world.
  • Your citizenship goes down the generations without having to pay large fees as with the Caribbean options.
  • Though taxes are high in Turkey, it doesn’t impact you as long as you are not a tax resident.
  • As a Turkish citizen you get access to a banking sector that doesn’t mind doing business with countries under Western sanctions. Expect the list of countries under Western sanctions to increase as the West’s decline accelerates.
  • Minimal paperwork required to get the citizenship, unlike the Caribbean ones that literally have anal EU and UK citizens go through your paperwork and possibly report on you.
  • The list goes on…

All it requires is a $400k real estate investment or a $500k bank deposit for 3 years (riskier).

I discussed common misconceptions about this program with my friend Brian and my Canadian realtor in Istanbul Keith.

Are there risks?

Absolutely. This part of the world has a history of economic issues, war, inflation, earthquakes, etc.

If you can’t deal with this sort of volatility, then don’t go for it. Bad headlines are part of the deal.

To be clear, your own countries are at war. And your own countries are printing money, the difference being that they’ve been getting away with it for now. They won’t forever. Or you can get the passport of an island that gets flattened by a hurricane every few years.

Another matter is Americans who want to renounce US citizenship. I wouldn’t want to depend on a single passport for sure. But if I had the choice between renouncing with just a single Caribbean passport, or with a Turkish passport with a Malta Permanent Residency, I would opt for the latter. It also MUCH easier to get a visa for anywhere in the world with a Turkish passport/EU permanent residency combination than a stand-alone Saint Lucia passport.

This Turkish citizenship by investment program won’t last forever. There is a lot of opposition to it in Turkey.

If you’re interested in buying real estate to get the Turkish citizenship by investment, feel free to get in touch with Keith here.

If you want to deposit $500k in relatively unsound banks for 3 years, get in touch with me and I’ll put you in touch with a good lawyer who can process the whole application for you.

If you liked my friend Brian’s thoughts on the program, you’ll enjoy following him on Instagram and LinkedIn.

To a World of Opportunities,

The Wandering Investor.

Other articles on Turkey:

Available services in Turkey:

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If you want to discuss your internationalization and diversification plans, book a consulting session or send me an email.

Transcript of “Why is the Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program misunderstood?”

LADISLAS MAURICE: Hello, everyone. So today, we’ll be discussing a very interesting topic, which is the Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program. We’ll be discussing it with Brian, who is very active in the investment migration space, as well as with Keith, who is a real estate agent here in Istanbul and in Izmir, who helps people find good properties for their Turkish citizenship application.

So I’d like to give, first of all, a little overview of the program. It’s very simple, you either invest $400,000 in any Turkish real estate in the country, it can be a combination of a few properties, or you deposit $500,000 in a Turkish bank for three years. So most people tend to go for the real estate option, because they feel that it’s a lot safer than putting and depositing their money in a bank for three years. I feel that there are a lot of misconceptions in the Western world with regards to this program. No one really ever mentions it, people always discuss all the Caribbean options, etc. But whenever you say Turkey, people just run away. So I think this video will be a bit more of a reality check in terms of what this program truly is, who it serves, and also the type of Westerners that come and get Turkish citizenship, because it’s quite niche.

Who is buying Turkish citizenship?

LADISLAS MAURICE: So, Brian, you’ve been living here in Turkey for a long time, you’re very close to everything happening with this program. What’s your overall view in terms of the market? Who are the people that are actually buying Turkish citizenship?

BRIAN: Yeah, it’s a great question. So historically, this country, in general, and particularly the early part of this program has always attracted regional investors, particularly, from Arab countries, from Iran, more and more from Russia and CIS countries, and basically the greater region around Turkey. But what has happened, especially after COVID, a lot of people realized that they want to diversify their strategy, they are really attracted to the real estate options here. They see Turkey as a country they could actually live in or live part-time in, they maybe travel here as they’re flying through around the world. And they see that Turkey can become a really useful part of their overall strategy.

So whether it’s lifestyle and tourism, whether it’s actually using the passport, a lot of Westerners don’t realize that the Turkish passport has a lot of sweet spots. It, originally, was, especially when the program actually truly launched, which in my view was the day that it was lowered to $250,000, it’s now $400,000, as you’ve mentioned, started off as a million, was only attracting a very niche type of usually richer Arab client. When it went to $250,000, it became a really good deal and it became very popular in a lot of investment circles. And really, what people saw it as is this is a country that I could actually spend time in, rather than, for example, Caribbean passports, where it’s small islands, most people don’t really trust the quality of nationality there long-term, and people have had issues with those passports trying to travel the world.

So originally, people wrote it off as, well, it doesn’t have European access, it doesn’t have access to the UK, doesn’t have access to the US, or Australia, these types of countries, so why would anybody want the passport? But when you look more closely, you see that the Turkish passport is pretty much almost as strong as a European one minus the Schengen area and access to the US. It’s also a great passport, generally, for even getting visas on if you want to just go to Europe as a Turk, it’s much easier than from a lot of source countries. So there are many use cases for it. There are also countries in the Middle East and around Asia that actually only Turkish citizens get and other countries don’t.

Turkish citizenship creates a legacy

BRIAN: So, it’s both useful as a travel document, it’s useful as a country to actually live in and stay in. There’s a lot of options for real estate, a lot of options for banking. There’s so many reasons why somebody would want this. And I think people don’t give it the proper analysis, sometimes, because they’re just so focused on the legacy programs and the European visas and so forth.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah, I think you raise a very important point about the durability of the citizenship in the sense that many of these Caribbean options have very strong restrictions in terms of who you can add down the line in terms of the citizenship. So if you have children, boom, big fees to add your children. Grandchildren, same thing, fees. Some of them, it just stops at grandchildren, then if your future grandchildren don’t have their children in that island, then the citizenship just essentially cancels itself for the next generation.

When you buy a Turkish citizen, it’s a generational play. It’s essentially people need to see it as an Ottoman citizenship that just descends down the generations, whether people are born in Turkey or not. So by buying a Turkish passport now, by making these investments in Turkey, you are giving Turkish citizenship to, if they want, if they choose to, essentially, many generations of your descendants.

A big regional power

BRIAN: And one other thing people forget is that Turkey is a major middle power. It’s top 20 country by total GDP. It will be one of the most important players in the development of this region that has immense soft power across all, across Central Asia. It has an excellent military, it has domestic manufacturing, it has great positioning for logistics, it’s been one of the countries that’s keeping the world system functioning in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. So this is a real country that people can become a citizen of. It’s the only program of its kind that is such a large country that you can really make your own in your own way. And people forget that that type of stuff matters. It’s not just about visa-free, and it’s not just about cost and investment. It’s also diversifying your sovereign risk, and I think Turkey is an excellent addition for that reason.

LADISLAS MAURICE: It is. And it has embassies and consulates all over the world, like most African countries, for example. So even like very remote places have Turkish diplomatic representation, which is interesting. Very interesting. More so than many European passports out there.

Why are Westerners buying Turkish citizenship?

So, Keith, you have been helping a lot of people obtain citizenship here in Turkey through the purchase of real estate in Istanbul and Izmir. So you have clients from a bit everywhere. You seem to have more Western clients, on average. So what can you tell us about, typically, the why are these Western clients of yours obtaining Turkish citizenship? What are their motivations? Because it’s quite niche. I think, Brian, of 100 people who get Turkish citizenship this way, how many are Western versus Iranian, Palestinian, Iraqi, Russian, Chinese?

BRIAN: Numerically, it’s a negligible amount. But that doesn’t change the fact that because it’s the most popular citizenship program in history, which a lot of people also don’t realize, the bestselling program of all programs that have ever existed, and it’s only really been around less than 10 years, if you really look at it, it’s still a lot in absolute terms. So there’s plenty of reasons for Westerners to choose it.

KEITH: Yeah. I think most of the Western clients are really looking at it as a Plan B option, maybe something that they’ll never need to exercise or that they will exercise. But they’re saying, “Hey, I can come in, I can use my brain, buy some decent real estate, hopefully, make decent profit, and the time being, also pick up a passport.” So yeah, for most of the Western clients, that’s the angle. For clients from the Arab region, maybe it’s different. Maybe they view it as a real option for future living, a real backup plan, one they might utilize, or they might even be utilizing as soon as they get the citizenship. So different kind of approach for both, but both seem quite motivated. When they’ve made the decision to go ahead, then it’s just like, “Okay, let’s find some good real estate, and then we’re off to the races.” Yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: So amongst your Western clientele, Keith, let’s say, you have 10 Westerners getting the citizenship. How many are North American versus European?

KEITH: Just by probably due to YouTube videos and things like that, most of my clients tend to be North American or American and less Europeans. But definitely, I have a lot of Iranian clients, a lot of Arab clients, a lot of Pakistani clients, you name it, from the greater sort of region here, all the surrounding countries. Probably have more clients from the surrounding countries than I do from the Americas, of course, yeah. But Europeans would comprise a much smaller percentage.

Misconceptions North Americans have when buying Turkish citizenship

LADISLAS MAURICE: And I think this is also interesting, the difference between Europeans and Americans, their views of the Turkish Citizenship by Investment. I find that Americans are a lot more keen to go for it, but often they don’t quite understand what they’re getting themselves into. So they come here with a lot of misconceptions, they think freedom, Plan B. And then they think that it means that they can come here and be loud and have loud opinions, etc. They need to understand that when you become a citizen of Turkey, especially as a minority, it’s not your role to be loud, and to have strong opinions, and to tell Turks what they should be doing. When you obtain citizenship here, it’s fine, you’ll be respected, you’ll have no issues whatsoever, but people need to know their place.

And this is, sometimes, an issue that North Americans who come here with a Plan B mentality face, because their definition of Plan B means being loud. But having a good Plan B isn’t necessarily the same as being loud. And, sometimes, people don’t understand this. So I think that’s a cultural shock that, sometimes, North Americans have when they get their citizenship, and they start dealing with the government, with the administration, or just with people in general. So I think people need just to manage their expectations and understand a bit more of the culture and the dynamics in the country, and just try to be a bit more respectful. At the end of the day, you’re new. Sure, you’re Turkish, but you bought the passport, you don’t even speak the language, just show a bit of respect.

Europeans, it’s the other way around. You say “Turkey” to Europeans, and they think, oh, kebab shop, or this, or that. It’s immediately negative. Or, they just think of vacation in Antalya. So Europeans, even though they’re a lot closer to Turkey, have an extremely distorted view of what Turkey is. They think it’s still a complete backwater, that it’s extremely poor, that it’s not developed, etc. But when you drive around Turkey, and I’ve driven all over the whole country, like, the highways are all brand new, the hospitals are amazing, the universities, everything, like, the infrastructure in Turkey is absolutely amazing. It’s not a backwater. So unfortunately, a lot of Europeans don’t go ahead with this program because of their own prejudice. And then Europeans will rather buy a Caribbean citizenship, which, fundamentally, doesn’t really add as much value as a Turkish passport to their diversification plans.

Which Europeans are buying Turkish citizenship?

LADISLAS MAURICE: I would tend to break down Europeans into a few different segments. So one, Scandinavians. They’re never interested in citizenship by investments. They think everything’s fine there. Then you have Germans, Dutch. They’re interested, but they live in fear of their government, their restrictions in terms of dual citizenship. They don’t want to get Turkish citizenship here and not declare it, though there’s not a lot of information sharing. So they really live in fear of their own government. So typically, they don’t really go ahead with it.

Then you have the French, who are, surprisingly, open to Turkey, though French foreign policy is often very anti-Turkey. But you have a lot of French people getting citizenship here in Turkey. Generally, they are the most aware of what they’re getting themselves into. And they’re the most keen of Europeans to go ahead with this program. And they understand the geopolitical hedge that comes with a Turkish passport. And they understand the cultural implications and personal implications of getting Turkish citizenship.

Southern Europeans, generally, don’t really think of getting second passports. They either quite don’t have the money or they’re not that interested. And then you have Eastern Europeans, so Russians, completely different scenario. They want a Turkish passport because it gives them access to banking, to everything, they can travel again, blah, blah. So for them, it makes complete sense. And then you have the odd person from the Balkan who, somehow, for whatever reason, wants an Ottoman passport. So Europeans, you can really segment them into different kind of boxes, it’s quite interesting to see.

But again, in terms of Westerners, it’s mostly North Americans that go for it. Actually, even UK, Irish, they don’t typically go for it, especially British people, they never really quite see the point of a second passport, unless if it’s like Irish or EU.

Turkey opens the door to a new reality for CBI investors

BRIAN: So one of the points that I think is really important here is that, going back to what you said, you’re coming into a culture, you’re coming into a new part of the world, especially if you’re from the Americas, Turkey doesn’t really exist in the collective conscious of North America. It does in Europe, there’s a certain stereotype, there’s a certain thought of what Turkey is, there’s an encounter with Turkish culture in a lot of European major cities. But with America, I think it’s a really interesting client base. And if you’re an American watching this, or you’re researching this stuff, you’ve maybe been more focused on Latin America, which tends to be the product that’s offered, start to think about how Turkey could allow you to have the old world, the Eurasian continent kind of in your back pocket a little bit. This is a country that actually has a lot to work with. You have people to meet, you have business opportunities, you can acquire property very easily here.

I mean, in some ways, I would agree that you have to be a little quieter. And this is a Muslim country. This is a country that has its own history and its own language. One of the best things, I think, that’s kept Turkey intact is its language, and the fact that it isn’t a country that is just immediately steamrolled by an Anglo-American discourse. I mean, you look at all over the Gulf, it’s essentially American and British corporations and different companies that have come in. And that’s changing now and, of course, the foreign policy is changing, but Turkey is a civilization unto itself. This is a civilizational passport. This is not just a state or a particular government that’s maybe issuing citizenships because they wanted to raise money or something.

I see it as a very long-term and big-picture option for people where they can say, “All right, well, I am part of this part of the world and I’m also able to access maybe a new and better type of lifestyle.” It’s, I mean, not to be underrated that you can live very well here. If you’re bringing in foreign currency, that’s kind of old news. People know they can get great hospitality, they know they can pick up a nice property for significantly less money than they would elsewhere. And so I think as much as people should be a little bit aware, and do their research, and step outside of the main areas of Istanbul. We often talk about Istanbul is Istanbul. It’s a city state, it’s very cosmopolitan. But Turkey is still, by and large, a middle development, middle market Muslim country, and there’s a lot of benefits to that, especially because, in my personal opinion, a lot of the things people are fleeing from in the West, the reason they’re fleeing is because that society doesn’t work anymore in some ways.

And so Turkey has an alternative option. And they do things a little differently here. And that’s part of the appeal, actually. People try to turn it into an aspirational European country. It’s not. This is its own civilization. And people also can find solace in the fact that it’s a deeply pro-foreigner and very much a melting pot culture. I’ve never felt ostracized here, I’ve never felt like I’ve had any difficulty doing the things I want to do. I’m treated generally very well by the Turkish people, because I express curiosity in the culture, I’ve learned some of the language. And so see it as a place to become part of. And it’s not a culture where you will forever be seen as a total outsider.

Of course, it’s hard to say if you can ever really become another culture that you weren’t born as, but Turkey is a pretty close option. I mean, you’re never going to truly become Japanese, you’re never going to truly become Malaysian, or Nigerian, but you can become Turkish. And it’s a very unique moment in time in this industry. And I don’t think it’ll last forever, this program. It’s constantly discussed, is it going to close? I think we’ve bought some time with the recent election result in terms of the program staying open. I don’t know if you feel the same way. But this is the moment to plant a flag in this part of the world.

KEITH: I agree with everything you said there, Brian. I just like to add a few things. I had lived in several other countries throughout the world before coming here. And, ultimately, in those countries, you get into a kind of expat bubble. And I really didn’t like that. I didn’t want to be far from Europe but I still wanted to be abroad. So I chose Turkey. And as soon as I got here, I realized there’s no need to be in an expat bubble. You can immediately discard all those kinds of InterNations groups or all those Hash House Harriers, I don’t know that you have, in the Middle East, these weird groups of expats that get together on Fridays and do whatever they do. I never did that. I’ve been to like one or two meetings like that, never felt the need. Never really felt like a foreigner. Okay, obviously, I am and, sometimes, it’s obvious. But generally, I never felt like that. And that was really important to me.

I just want to go about my day, go about my business, not stick out, and not need to go, necessarily, meeting up with expats. I have lots of expat friends, but I don’t go to expat clubs, or join activities to go hiking with expats, or anything like that. I don’t feel the need to. And one more thing, which I think you touched on but which is really important to me, when I go to other countries, this is really standing out and really bothering me, the service culture is so engrained here, and it’s such a high level, especially in Istanbul. You can get anything. Sunday night, your girlfriend kicks you out of the house, you need a moving van, it’s two o’clock at night, somebody will find it for you. [laughs]

BRIAN: Absolutely.

KEITH: Or, some dude will come along with something over his back and move your stuff.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Are you speaking from experience?

KEITH: [laughs] I’ve heard of such people.


KEITH: But also, there’s the service in restaurants. And when I went to Georgia, everybody was talking about Georgia. And what’s this Georgia thing? I go into a restaurant in Georgia, it’s embarrassing. I’m sorry if you’re Georgian, but really. And that’s the case in most places. I went to Hungary, you name it. Greece, okay, it’s a little bit better. But so many countries, African countries, I’m sorry, like, the service in restaurants, etc. Dubai, somewhere like that is, obviously, very good. But I would put it on that level. And that’s really nice when you’re living here, you can get whatever you want, whenever you want. And people are happy to bring it to you, they’ve got a smile on their face, no matter who you are. As long as you smile back, you generally don’t have any problems.

BRIAN: I agree.

Investing in your access to the East

LADISLAS MAURICE: I think that this program, for anyone who is serious about internationalization, is the best out there by far. In a world where the power seems to be shifting from West to East, Turkey is uniquely placed to take advantage of this shift, and it is operating this shift as we are talking. It was, historically, very pro-West, and increasingly, it’s becoming pro-East. It’s going to be a volatile and messy transition, because, obviously, it will come under attack from various angles. So Turkey will be making the headlines over the coming decades, often for negative reasons. But it’s forging its path ahead very clearly. And by investing in this passport, you get to have a stake in this, like you say, civilization that is going into a different direction, especially as a Westerner. So you’ll be able to jump between West and East. And I think in a world that is increasingly bifurcating between the two sides, having this passport is a unique tool to have for you, for your family, and for your descendants.

But just people need to understand that it will be volatile. Turkey is at the heart of everything, it’s right between West and East, and it’s operating a whole shift in foreign policy, in the economy as well, increasingly going East, etc. So it will not be an easy transition. Ultimately, it’s the right decision for the country. And you, as an investor in the Citizenship by Investment Program here in Turkey, will benefit in the long run.

BRIAN: Well, and also, I mean, there’s a couple of ways to assess the quality of any type of citizenship opportunity or any investment opportunity. What’s nice about Turkey is it’s good actually on all fronts. It’s, A, a great country itself, which is kind of the most important one, in my opinion. It’s, B, a great travel document, if you are, again, willing to take off the Schengen-obsessed glasses that everybody has in this industry, you can see how it’d be a useful travel document for a lot of things. And it’s also a great program itself. The program is structured in a pro-business, pro-investor, pro-customer angle. It’s a low-hassle KYC process, generally speaking, it’s a very quick processing time relative to current industry standard.

I mean, of course, there’s backlogs because of the demand, but none of this two, three-year closures we hear about in the West, none of these endless proof of everything, what’s your tennis teacher’s names, ridiculous things that they ask in certain European programs. So the program itself, if you’re looking purely just at the experience of making an investment, generally, is, I think, the best structure. Even if the country wasn’t good, it would still be a good program. And so you have it on all fronts that it’s pretty much a good option. It isn’t for everyone, but for anybody who decides to do it, I can see a use case in almost any example.

And the other thing about Turkey is, because it’s a larger country, yes, it’s volatile, and yes, expect to see the headlines, but that’s part of freedom. Part of freedom is being somewhere that’s actually making a stand for some type of future. And I think there’s an immense soft freedom that’s not [just guessing 00:24:08]. I just recommend, for anybody who’s curious about it, don’t have an opinion about the Turkish program unless you’ve been here.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah, very good point.

BRIAN: And unless you’ve spent at least a few weeks. Because it’s funny, the people who have the biggest negative opinions about Turkey, it’s not the kind of country you can analyze from afar. It’s not the kind of country you can analyze from headlines. I don’t think that about pretty much any country. I would recommend seeing things for yourself, generally. But specifically to Turkey, there are many historical institutions that are very vested in Turkey not pursuing its own independent foreign policy. You see that in the Western media, you see that in the European Union, the way that the US talks about Turkey as this kind of legacy partner in the Middle East. That’s not how Turks see their destiny, that’s not how the current government sees their position in the world.

So come and see it, don’t listen to all the people, “Oh, the Turkish economy is going to collapse, and the people…” This is a very functioning country in a lot of ways. It has a lot of problems, it also has a lot of great things going for it. And I just really encourage people, before you make any sweeping statements about it, spend a little time and dig around, and see what there is here.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah, it’s just going to be a volatile ride. And I think what people, what Westerners need to understand as well is, I travel a lot around the world, we are increasingly despised as Westerners with our Western passports. We have had a very aggressive foreign policy for a few centuries now. Our aggressive foreign policy is increasingly out of sync with our actual power, as power is shifting East. So when we were arrogant and powerful, that was one thing. Increasingly, we are arrogant and evermore neutered. So that’s not a good mix with people having a bad aftertaste of what we’ve done to them over the past centuries.

So having a Turkish passport and going around Africa is much better than going around Africa with a UK, or a French passport. I can guarantee you this. You will be more welcome as a Turk when you’re doing business, when you’re trying to push paperwork through the government administrations, etc., and they see a Turkish file, a Turkish passport copy coming through for whatever investment, for whatever visa or whatever than a French or a UK passport. So sure, the French and the UK passports are still doing well there because of the fear factor, but as the fear diminishes, it’s increasingly going to be a problem to have the passports of the former colonizers.

So if you really think long-term, again, you want a Turkish passport to do business in developing countries. And if you think that the UK embassy, or the Canadian embassy is going to have your back when you’re doing business in Venezuela, or something goes wrong in Argentina, or in Burkina Faso, that’s not going to happen. They never help independent businessmen. If you’re a big corporation, sure. If you’re just a guy trying to do business, the Canadian embassy, the US embassy will not do anything for you. So you’re better off being with a Turkish passport, where at least people don’t hate you.

BRIAN: And who’s the first that always sends the plane and always sends the volunteer aid every time there’s a natural disaster? When the Ukraine-Russia thing broke out, who was sending a diplomatic envoy for their citizens? Turkey was. Where in Africa, like you said, is there the most presence of consular missions? It’s consistently Turkey. Access to, I mean, this is something that people don’t think about when times are good. But we learned, during COVID, that the government responsible for you does matter. It affects your day-to-day life, it affects your perception when you travel.

And if you’re a permanent expat, and you’re banking on a country that you don’t even really live in anymore that could be very far away being your only calling card, I would be concerned about it. And if the option is even there, and I think maybe you could even just touch on just how much you can get for the money. I’m sure you cover that in other videos, but we’re not even talking here, oh, let’s make this big investment that goes down the drain, and this is some philosophical long-term play. I would still think it was good even if that was it. But it’s also that you’re getting a couple of great properties along the way, too. I mean, let’s not forget that it has to be practical in the now. You’re getting all of that long-term and you’re also getting two apartments and a beach home that you can sell in three years. It’s like, I literally can’t see any reason why I won’t do it. [laughs]

What real estate mix to invest in for the Turkish Citizenship by Investment?

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah. So for example, let’s say, my name is Jonathan. I’m from, I don’t know, Philadelphia or Chicago. I want to get citizenship here in Turkey for myself and my family. What sort of property mix/investments would you just recommend top line? Like, what are you currently selling to people, helping people invest in?

KEITH: Normally, what we’re doing these days still is suggesting perhaps a stack of properties, one in Istanbul, because 80% of our clients definitely want something in Istanbul. And then we’re making some kind of alternative offers, usually, in Izmir, but perhaps Kocaeli, some of these emerging cities that are kind of satellite cities, not too far from Istanbul. They’re really doing pretty well actually post-earthquake as well. There’s a kind of exodus to some of these locations. So we really look hard at those now.

If it’s in Istanbul, we try to stay central, but every now and then, if there’s a special opportunity, we’re willing to go into some of the suburbs, but we prefer, of course, to be reasonably central. We don’t want it to take an hour and a half to get to Istanbul and still be claiming that we’re selling a property in Istanbul. No. If we’re saying we’re selling a property in Istanbul, we want to be able to get downtown, easily, in 20 minutes, 30 minutes maximum. So yeah, we’re focused on that kind of core. But that comprises about six different, seven different municipalities that we regularly look for properties, Fatih, Kartal, Sisli, Besiktas, Beyoğlu, on the Asian side, Kadikoy, even Maltepe, sometimes. So lots of different neighborhoods that we look at and we’re open to. But yeah, of course, we’re doing probably most of our sales in the kind of core downtown Istanbul area. We’re fairly happy with that.

And yeah, prices have gone up in the last couple of years. Three years ago, I was screaming from the rooftops, just buy anything, buy right now. Not buy anything, but start buying. I’m bullish. And I wasn’t like that for many years in the late 2018. It’s 2017, ’16, those kind of years. Around 2019, I just said, people should be buying. This market is undervalued. It is a classic undervalued market on every metric. And then, of course, it did start to go up. In ’20, ’21, still lots of good deals. Now we’re in ’23, it’s more selective, we have to be more careful. There’s a lot of properties that are overpriced, or we just don’t see much future in those properties. But selectively, we’re closing deals. Not as many as we’d like, because there’s difficulties sourcing these properties. But still, we are able to find several every month and, hopefully, we can work through the details to close on some of those. That’s where we’re at with the market.

Our typical thing is, we’re going to look at a property today where we’re just coming, these days, the yields are a bit uncertain, let’s say that. So we’re having a hard time with the math because of the Turkish Lira. So it’s really important when we look at a property, we want to get something that we feel is like 10%, 15%, at least, off the current market price, kind of lock in some gain, some paper gain, and then eases the pressure on the yield somewhat. So that’s really our strategy, go in, try to find those properties that are just under market price a little bit, and we’re off to the races. We’re happy then. We do a lot of renovations, still, but these days, probably a little bit less for a lot of different reasons. We’re looking at some newer properties downtown, but that’s still one of our plays as well.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. Fantastic. Thank you, Keith. So if you’re interested in travel information as well as perspective on industry and a lot of thought-provoking ideas as well, feel free to follow Brian. There’s his Instagram here as well as his LinkedIn. And if you’re interested in obtaining a Turkish Citizenship by Investment by buying real estate here in Turkey, make sure to get in touch with Keith.

KEITH: Yeah. Or, just real estate in general, it doesn’t have to be for CBI.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. Or, real estate in general. True, true, true. Cool.

BRIAN: Thank you.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Gentlemen, thank you.

KEITH: Thank you very much.

BRIAN: Thank you.