Words to know when buying property in Turkey

Words You Need to Know When Buying Property in Turkey

Have you been thinking about purchasing property in Turkey? Besides choosing a reliable, professional real estate agent to represent you, it’s also wise to do a little research yourself.

For example, familiarise yourself with some basic terminology. Here are 14 words you need to know when you’re buying property in Turkey.

The Tapu are the title deeds. However, this translation is not entirely accurate, since the Tapu is merely an excerpt from the Public Register. It is only an indication of ownership at the time of issue. The situation after a month or a year cannot be determined from a Tapu.

The Public Register is the only way of establishing who – at any given time – is the actual owner of the land or property in question!

Before a property can be transferred from owner, some procedures need to be followed. If you have a professional real estate agent by your side, he or she will explain to you which documents are needed and which steps have to be made.

The official at the Tapu office will draw up the deeds necessary to convey the property to the purchaser. Before this actually happens several payments have to be made. The purchaser’s and seller’s passport photos are added to the deeds. The purchaser then signs over the top of the passport photos of the seller and the seller over those of the purchaser. After paying for the property (e.g. in cash, by bank etc.) the Public Register manager will sign the deeds bearing the photograph of the new owner.

Real estate agent. The real estate agency profession is, on paper, well-regulated in Turkey. However, in theory anyone can call themselves a real estate agent. When you are searching for a real estate agent, make sure you find a registered one that knows the local area and market.


Anyone who has bought a house or apartment in Turkey will be familiar with the term İskan. It can be described as a ‘permission to use the home’.

The first step involves the project developer to apply for a general İskan (İskan Ruhsatı) at the applicable municipality. Prior to issuing this, the municipal construction and housing department will check that the complex has been built in accordance with the building permit.

They also check that the project developer has fulfilled all of its financial obligations at the local tax office and social security authorities (S.S.K.). Only when everything is satisfactory, and the builder has obtained the general Iskan, which they also deposit at the electricity company, is the individual owner able to apply for an Iskan for their own villa or apartment.

Such residence permits allow owners to obtain water and electricity supplies in their own names and to make use of the general utilities. Up until that time, so-called ‘construction site electricity and water’ has to be used. This is considerably more expensive that a normal ‘supply agreement’.

It is advisable to check that the house you are considering purchasing benefits from a general Iskan. If you have a real estate agency on your side, they will do this for you.

Translator. As a foreign national it’s mandatory to use a sworn translator at the Title Deed Transfer. Whether the buyer or seller is responsible for these costs will be stated in the sales agreement.

Building Land

The traditional unit of measure of land in Turkey, roughly equivalent to 1000 m2.

Land Registry. The Land Registry holds information about property and land. It is always a good idea to investigate the actual designation of the plot of land in question at the Land Registry.

Notary. In Turkey, solicitors perform a different role in the purchase of property compared with that in (some) other countries. The Turkish solicitor does not ensure that all legal matters proceed satisfactorily, as they would do in (some) other countries. Nonetheless there are certain property purchase matters that can be dealt with by the Turkish solicitor, even though this is often expensive.

The services of the Turkish solicitor are also commonly used when drawing up wills and powers of attorney.

For Sale

For Rent

Power of attorney. Power of attorney is a document in which you authorise someone else to deal with certain (legal) matters on your behalf. In Turkey it is usually mandatory to have a power of attorney drawn up by a solicitor, in contrast to other countries where a power of attorney may be handwritten without requiring the involvement of a solicitor.  In terms of property you can authorise someone else to, for example, purchase, sell, transfer, invest in or arrange banking matters for property on your behalf.

A tax number. It is required by law in Turkey when purchasing property. You can get this number at the Vergi Dairesi, the Tax Office. Your real estate agent can assist with the procedure.

Real Estate