Sassounian: Armenia Should Retaliate Against Turkish Ban on Buying Real Estate

Turkey’s Cabinet is in the process of finalizing a law adopted by parliament last May that bans citizens of six countries—Armenia, Cuba, Nigeria, North Korea, Syria, and Yemen—from buying real estate in Turkey, according to Sabah newspaper. No reason was given for blacklisting these countries.

The law demonstrates the persistent hostility of Turkish officials, contradicting their sugarcoated announcements about wanting to normalize relations with Armenia. After reviewing the restriction placed on its citizens, the Armenian Parliament should consider adopting retaliatory measures against citizens of Turkey interested in purchasing Armenian properties.

The proposed Turkish law is doubly provocative since it places a ban on citizens of Armenia, while expanding from 53 to 129 the list of countries authorized to invest in Turkey, and allows citizens of another 52 countries to invest with some limitations. The new law even permits nationals whose governments ban Turkish investments to purchase property in Turkey. Relaxing restrictions on foreign investments in the Turkish real estate market would bring an additional $300 billion of revenue over the next 10 years, Sabah wrote.

Here are the restrictions that the new law places on certain countries: Citizens of China, Denmark, East Timor, Fiji, and Israel may only purchase a single residence in Turkey. Jordanians, on the other hand, may purchase two houses and one place of business. Russians and Ukrainians may buy real estate anywhere in Turkey, except on the Black Sea coast, while Georgians cannot buy real estate in the coastal and border regions. Greek citizens are not permitted to purchase property near the Aegean Sea and the border areas, except for those who are of Turkish origin. Citizens of Afghanistan, Egypt, Latvia, Morocco, and some other African countries are not allowed to buy agricultural land, vineyards, or orchards. Albanians can purchase a residence or a business, but not land.

Citizens of another 16 countries, including Iran, Palestine, and India, need permission from the ministry of interior before acquiring real estate in Turkey. Iraqis, on the other hand, need a permit issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry. A foreign individual or firm cannot purchase more than 10 percent of the land in a particular district or a total of 30 hectares in all of Turkey. The law also bans foreigners from purchasing or leasing real estate in military and security zones.

Among the 129 countries allowed to purchase property in Turkey without conditions or restrictions are Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, and Uzbekistan.

What steps should Armenia take in retaliation of this new Turkish law? Article 31 of the constitution of the Republic of Armenia states that “foreign citizens and stateless persons shall not enjoy the right to land ownership except for cases prescribed by the law.” According to a report submitted by the Armenian government to the World Trade Organization (WTO), “foreigners are allowed to use land through lease contracts with an Armenian counterpart. Furthermore, foreigners have the right to own real estate properties built on Armenian land, and to exploit renewable and non-renewable natural resources on the basis of concession contracts granted by the government.” Armenia’s report to the WTO also stated that “the legislation grants the government the power to limit and prohibit foreign investment for national security concerns.”

It would be important to know the number of foreign individuals and companies that lease land or own buildings and businesses in Armenia, as well as their names, citizenship, locations, sizes, and market value. How many of these leases are held by Turkish citizens? Raising these questions is relevant because in the past Armenian officials have stated that there is no need to restrict foreigners who are interested in investing in Armenian real estate.

While it is understandable that Armenia would encourage foreign investments, it is not known if certain sensitive border areas are exempt from leasing to foreigners such as Azeris and Turks for national security reasons. There are also lands that contain strategic reserves of certain precious metals and minerals. They, too, should not be leased to foreigners who are citizens of hostile nations.

In retaliation for the new Turkish law banning citizens of Armenia from purchasing real estate in Turkey, Armenia should immediately pass a law banning Turkish citizens from all purchases or leases of real estate. No exceptions should be made!

Armenians should not be too worried that they cannot buy land in Turkey. Hopefully, they will get their lands back someday without paying for it.


Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh $917 million of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


  1. They killed and took our lands
    and now they refuse to sell to us…
    What a good nature…they possess…
    Because they feel one day
    We must come back…
    We have different nationalities…
    From every site…
    Can they refuse…?
    God is Great
    “Allah Akbar”

  2. Yeah sure, as if the Turks are waiting in line to buy property in Armenia. Adopt any law you want to adopt, it your country and your rules. Just don’t bother other countries what they can and can’t do.

    • We will keep, quote, “bothering other counties”, including Turkey, until the matter with Recognition of and Reparations for the AG is resolved.

      And “bothering” Turkey will gather momentum year in, year out.
      Have no doubt, pal.

      Oh BTW: if you are so concerned about “bothering other countries”, please explain why Turkish MFA gave themselves the right to stick their nose into something that has absolutely no connection to Turkey, by issuing an official statement that the Presidential elections in NKR were, quote, “Unacceptable” to Turkey.

  3. “In retaliation for the new Turkish law banning citizens of Armenia from purchasing real estate in Turkey, Armenia should immediately pass a law banning Turkish citizens from all purchases or leases of real estate. No exceptions should be made!”

    Yes, fight hate with hate. Excellent plan.

    • RVDV
      Can’t blame Armenians for hating Turks. They have done nothing but rape, pillage, steal, murder for centuries and then deny till this day…

      You as a Kurd, I don’t understand your “love affair” with the same people that want your destruction as well?

    • RVDV,

      Actually, I am happy that Turkey wants to ban citizens of Armenian from purchasing real estate in Turkey. No need for Armenians to settle in that fascistic country. Who knows when Turks will subject Armenians to second genocide. I guess when they have another chance-most likely in WW3.

      Armenia should ban Turks from buying real estate in Armenia regardless whether Turkey has that law or not. The last thing we, Armenians, want to see is the Turkish expansion in Armenia (like they do in Georgia-I foresee the repetition of the Northern Cyprus scenario in Batumi in the future).

      I still do not understand how Armenians can set their foot in that country let alone live there.

  4. Գող, Սիրտը դող:

    Official Turkey is clearly concerned that Armenians will repeat the process that Jews successfully used in their creation of the State of Israel, when wealthy Jews started buying land in Palestine well before 1947. In fact it was official Ottoman policy not to sell land to foreigners in Palestine, when they controlled it. OT particularly worried about Jews taking over Palestine and wresting control of it from them. [the Ottomans continuously restricted Jewish immigration and land purchases in Palestine] (from Wiki).

    I agree with Mr. Sassounian though: no need to spend precious funds in Turkey. The available surplus funds (of all Armenians) can be put to better use in RoA and NKR.

  5. How about a test? “Among the 129 countries allowed to purchase property in Turkey without conditions or restrictions are Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon” How about an Armenian who was born in Lebanon try and purchase property…..let’s see if they are allowed to purchase it without an issue or if all of a sudden the paper work keeps getting placed under the pile.

  6. Only in turkey could such a byzantine law be dreamed up! It was probably authored by the same confused committee that thought up article 301. The whole thing smells like a hookah pipe with too much upsy-daisy stuff from the turkish bazaar was passed around.

  7. I would say, let’s just ignore this country called Turkey and focus on advanced countries that deserve to be focused on. However in the meanwhile we must take these precautions, Mr. Sassounian is 100% right.

  8. “the Armenian Parliament should consider adopting retaliatory measures against citizens of Turkey interested in purchasing Armenian properties.”

    WOW! snap.. I must buy some property in Armenia before it is too late.

    • Why bother buying Turan ?

      why not invade, exterminate and steal – like your ancestors did.
      didn’t a whole lot of your countrymen march at Taksim square just a few months ago with placards that read “Today Taksim, tomorrow Yerevan”, “We will bury you on Mt. Ararat” ?

      And the money that you might use to buy property in Armenia before it’s too late, most likely has its origins in the wealth that was stolen and confiscated by your ancestors from Armenians, Greeks, and Syriacs.

      Hard to believe ?
      Then read this article in TodaysZaman: [Armenian, Syriac and Kurdish questions should be taken as a whole] (22 May 2011 / E. BARIŞ ALTINTAŞ, İSTANBUL).

      I will paste a relevant passage: {“…. In fact, today, the source of the Turkish bourgeoisie’s wealth is Armenian and Greek property, although books on Turkish economic history never mention this,” he said.”} (he being Turkish sociologist İsmail Beşikçi).

  9. In Turkey

    Underneath each ground
    There are Armenian skeletons …
    Who buys that land
    And starts digging the sand…
    He will easily find…

    Tell me who will throw his money
    In a state… there is no human rights …?
    Many journalist are in prison
    Killing Kurds in the East…calling them rebels…
    With the agreement of civilized states like USA

    Do you think the people are mad…
    Even Bedouins know very well
    That the Ottomans were scavengers …
    They know what they did in the Arabian ground…
    For 500 years and more…
    Rich Arabs buy London homes…and pay taxes
    Because there they have a fair law…
    No one can later takes from them
    To pay taxes better than to lose all as we lost…

    I think we should advertise that those lands Turks are selling to foreigners
    have Armenian owners…the original people were genocided …
    so it belongs to to the genociders…with out official law…

    My grandfather uncle Lawyer Garabed Dabaghian( called by turks as Natiq Afandi) had huge lands in Diyarbakir…
    We have all the papers “Tapoos” can we claim back…?

    • If God exists will punish them…!
      Even God can’t deal with them…
      Because they are godless…
      As Arab poets wrote their poems
      I wish I could translate…
      But there is no equal words in English…
      Unborn-uncreated yet
      To translate their stanzas…!

  10. Yes, start by creating a law banning Turkish citizens from buying Armenian oceanfront properties.

    Seriously, why get so worked up about nothing. The Turkish cabinet’s decision probably won’t affect the people that matter anyway, namely the Armenian oligarchs. They buy when and where they like. Almost certainly they already own spectacular homes on the Bosphorus, hotels and resorts up and down the Turkish coast. As for the hoi polloi in Armenia, they barely have two coins to rub together let alone the capacity to buy land overseas.

  11. All Armenians around the world must get back to Armenia ,and Government have to give land to anyone get there to build a house ,specially all lands of Ardzach must be accupied by Armenians around the world and by bringing all Armenians back to Armenia ,country will get stronger with a complete transparent budget and by bringing all their assets from outside in the country the economy will flourish and Armenia will prosper .

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