September 19, 2018 / 7:50 AM / 8 months ago

Turkey sharply cuts financial, investment levels for Turkish citizenship

FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses teachers and students at an Istanbul high school, Sept. 18, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer/File Photo

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey has slashed the financial and investment criteria for foreigners to become Turkish citizens, according to revised regulations published in the Official Gazette on Wednesday.

It reduced sharply the required foreign currency value of fixed capital investments, bank deposits, property ownership or Turkish bond holdings - any one of which could qualify a foreigner for Turkish citizenship.

The amount of required fixed capital investment was reduced to $500,000 (£380,344) from $2 million and the size of bank deposits was cut to $500,000 from $3 million, the decision said.

The decision decreed that foreigners can become citizens if they own property worth $250,000 for three years, down from a previous value set at $1 million, and if they hold Turkish debt for three years valued at $500,000, down from $3 million.

It also halved the number of employees an applicant must employ to gain Turkish citizenship, from 100 to 50 employees.

The government is taking measures to boost investment in Turkey’s economy and strengthen the lira, which has fallen 40 percent so far this year.

Reporting by Can Sezer; Writing by Sarah Dadouch; Editing by Daren Butler and Dominic Evans

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