Turks Eye-Up Greek Real Estate Despite Tensions

Date: 23.04.2018 / / Comments (0)

It is no longer rare to hear Turkish spoken on the streets of Greek cities such as Athens and Thessaloniki as the numbers of Turks in such places has skyrocket by more 1,000 percent since 2015. But unlike the hundreds of thousands of Turks who holiday on the Greek islands each year, many of those visiting Athens and Thessaloniki are there to buy property and often to settle down, according to Nikolas Birbari, writing in Ahval in Turkish.

Birbari said these Turks are composed of several distinct groups, none of whom appear deterred by escalating tensions between Greece and Turkey.

The first and largest group comprises those who want to benefit from rules that grant five-year residency permits to those who buy property worth more than €250,000. Apart from gaining residency rights and a visa that allows travel around Europe, those owning property in Greece can earn rental income, often exceeding €1,000 a month. Many are also concerned by political and economic developments back home. As such they see buying property in Greece as a logical choice - a way of protecting their assets and one that affords them a safe haven should the situation in Turkey deteriorate further.

A second group comprises Turks involved in businesses, such as real estate and construction, who are motivated purely by the economic opportunities they see in Greece as it recovers from the financial crises that gripped the country between 2009 and 2016 .

A third group is made of those caught up in Turkish government purges following the failed 2016 coup attempt. Prominent amongst them are those who are connected in some way or another to the Gülen movement that the Turkish government holds responsible for the coup attempt. Some in this group have claimed asylum and plan to stay in Greece only until they can move on to other countries. Others are trenchant critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who would likely be imprisoned if they return to Turkey, but who wish to remain close to their homeland.

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