Embarking on the journey to obtain Turkish citizenship by descent is like taking a stroll through history. It is a path that connects people from all corners of the world with their ancestral roots, providing more than just a passport. It is a gateway to a rich cultural tapestry and a legacy of diversity.
This article aims to explain what it takes to claim Turkish citizenship by lineage. It’s not just about filling out paperwork or ticking boxes; it’s about reconnecting with your roots and perhaps even discovering some practical advantages of holding dual citizenship along the way.
Whether you’re interested in exploring your heritage or seeking the benefits of a second passport, understanding the intricacies of this process is crucial to your journey.
Benefits of Turkish Citizenship
Turkish citizenship not only opens doors to a country that’s rich in culture and history but also offers practical benefits like visa-free travel, economic opportunities, and a high quality of life, making it an attractive option for many around the globe.
Strategic location: Turkey’s unique geographical position straddles both Europe and Asia, offering a strategic advantage for business and travel. It bridges East and West, providing easy access to various markets across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Visa free travel: Turkish citizens enjoy visa-free or visa –on arrival access to many countries worldwide, including various destinations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. This facilitates easy travel for business, education, and leisure purposes.
Economic opportunities: Turkey’s growing economy presents numerous investment and employment opportunities. The Turkish government offers incentives for foreign investors, including a citizenship –by investment program, which allows individuals to obtain citizenship through real estate investments or capital contributions.
Quality of life: Turkey is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes, from beautiful beaches to majestic mountains. The cost of living is relatively low compared to many Western countries, yet it offers a high standard of living, excellent healthcare, and modern amenities.
Cultural and social harmony: Turkey is a melting pot of cultures, offering a cosmopolitan lifestyle while maintaining its unique traditions and heritage. The society is welcoming and diverse, allowing newcomers to integrate easily.
Turkish Citizenship by Descent
Turkish Citizenship by Descent is a provision within the Turkish nationality law that allows individuals with Turkish ancestry to acquire Turkish citizenship.
This form of citizenship is granted to people who have at least one parent who is a Turkish citizen, regardless of where they were born. The idea behind citizenship by descent is to keep the bond strong between the Turkish state and its diaspora, ensuring that descendants of Turkish nationals have the right to become citizens themselves if they wish to do so.
To claim this citizenship, one typically needs to prove their parents’ Turkish citizenship through official documents, such as birth certificates, national ID cards, or passports. Once the lineage is established, and the paperwork is submitted, the authorities review the application, and the individual may be granted citizenship.
This pathway to citizenship values the importance of bloodline and heritage in the transmission of national identity and rights from one generation to the next.
It’s a common practice in many countries to strengthen cultural and familial ties to the nation, offering a sense of belonging and identity to those with Turkish roots living abroad.
Turkish law dictates that the right to citizenship isn’t based on where you are born, but kinship instead. This means that even if you are born in Turkey, it doesn’t guarantee automatic citizenship.
For obtaining Turkish citizenship, the most important factor is the nationality of your parents at the time of your birth. If either one of them is a Turkish citizen, then citizenship will be passed down to you.
Acquiring Turkish citizenship can also be done through your ancestry, although it’s not as straightforward as through a Turkish citizen parent. However, if you can prove your Turkish or Ottoman ancestry, there is a good chance that you can become a Turkish citizen.
You must satisfy all the requirements set out by the Turkish government for citizenship by descent, as the Turkish authorities are meticulous about any claims of ancestry. Some of the documents you need to provide include:
- Certified copy of your birth certificate
- Birth certificate of one or both parents
- Marriage certificate of your parents if they were married at the time of your birth
- Proof of your current citizenship status or residency
- Completed application form
- Clean criminal record
- Sufficient knowledge of the Turkish language
- Verified proof of your Turkish ancestry
Providing Turkish authorities with the required documentation is crucial, but your most challenging part might be proving your Turkish lineage. It will go a long way if you have a Turkish passport of a grandparent, but according to the Turkish government, you must provide any of the following documents:
- Turkish Republic civil status registration papers
- Population identity books
- Passports and valid equivalent documents
- Declaration statements of citizenship issued by the Turkish consulates
Copies and records of these documents are kept in the Ottoman archives in Istanbul or Ankara, and must be verified by a notary to be accepted as part of your application.
How to Obtain Turkish Citizenship by Descent
Since you can only be granted Turkish citizenship if one of your parents is a Turkish citizen, it can be tricky if you want to acquire Turkish citizenship through descent. Essentially, you need to employ a lawyer who will bring a lawsuit to the courts, who will then decide on the merits of your case.
At a high-level overview, obtaining Turkish citizenship by descent involves a few steps:
- Gather all the necessary documents.
- If you have Turkish relatives in the country, they should testify in court about your ancestry.
- A lawyer takes on your case and submits a lawsuit.
- When the courts reach a favorable decision, the lawyer registers the citizenship in the state’s Directorate of Population.
- After registration and application for Turkish citizenship, you will be issued a number to your own population file (Basvur Numrasi).
Alternative Pathways to Turkish Citizenship
Citizenship by descent isn’t the only method for obtaining Turkish citizenship. Under Turkish citizenship law, there are a few other pathways that can lead to you becoming a Turkish national and eventually claiming a Turkish passport.
To apply for Turkish citizenship, you must meet specific requirements. Firstly, if you are a resident of Turkey for five years without interruption, or if you have a stateless person identity document, you may apply for citizenship.
However, there are additional requirements such as having a good command of the Turkish language, having a good moral character, and not being diagnosed with any disease that might pose a risk to public health.
If you are married to a Turkish citizen for at least three years and your marriage is still valid, you are also eligible to apply for Turkish citizenship. If your spouse passes away after you have applied for citizenship, the requirement of family unity is no longer necessary.
Additionally, the Turkish Citizenship Law includes provisions for exceptional citizenship acquisition. If you do not pose any threat to national security and public order, you may obtain Turkish citizenship based on the proposal of the Ministry of the Interior and the decision of the Cabinet.
Turkish Citizenship by Investment
If you don’t fall into any of the previous categories for citizenship, you can acquire citizenship through an investment. This means that you have to make a sizeable investment in Turkey’s economy, after which you can claim Turkish citizenship.
According to Turkish authorities, there are six ways for foreigners to become Turkish citizens through investment:
- Foreigners who are confirmed to have invested a fixed capital of a minimum of $500,000 by the Ministry of Industry and Technology
- Foreigners who are confirmed to have purchased Turkish real estate worth a minimum of $400,000 or promised to purchase real estate with floor ownership or floor easement corresponding to a minimum of $ 250,000 or the same amount equivalent to Turkish Lira with a sale contract certified by a notary public and annotation of refusal of sale for three years added to the records of the title deed registry by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization
- Foreigners who are confirmed to have created employment for at least 50 people by the Ministry of Family, Labour, and Social Services
- Foreigners who are confirmed to have deposited a minimum of $500,000 or an equivalent of the same Turkish Lira in a bank that operates in Turkey by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency provided that it will be kept in the account for three years
- Foreigners who are confirmed to have purchased and held for three years real estate investment fund participation shares or venture capital investment fund participation shares worth a minimum of $500,000 by the Capital Markets Board
- Foreigners who are confirmed to have purchased state-borrowing instruments worth a minimum of $500,000 on the condition of holding them for three years by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance, may apply for exceptional Turkish citizenship.
Key Takeaways on Turkish Citizenship by Descent
Turkish citizenship offers a blend of cultural richness, strategic location, and practical benefits like visa-free travel and economic opportunities, making it an appealing choice globally.
Turkish citizenship by descent allows individuals with Turkish ancestry to claim citizenship, emphasizing the importance of bloodline and heritage. Eligibility hinges on having at least one Turkish parent or proving Turkish or Ottoman ancestry.
The application process involves providing documentation to prove lineage and meeting set requirements like a clean criminal record and proof of Turkish ancestry.
Alternative pathways to acquire Turkish citizenship include residence, marriage to a Turkish citizen, and the citizenship –by investment program, catering to various applicants’ needs and contributing to Turkey’s rich, multicultural society.
Frequently Asked Questions about Turkish Citizenship by Descent
How long does it take to get Turkish citizenship by descent?
The time it takes to receive a verdict from the Turkish court can take between four months and a year.
It also depends on whether you apply from Turkey or through a Turkish consulate in your home country.
Does Turkey allow dual nationality?
Yes, Turkey allows for dual citizenship. However, it depends on whether the other country allows dual citizenship.
In some instances, people lose their Turkish citizenship when they acquire citizenship in another country.
Who is banned from obtaining Turkish citizenship?
Citizens of Armenia, Cuba, Nigeria, North Korea, and Syria are banned from obtaining Turkish citizenship.