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property scam

Property Fraud and Real Estate Scams in Turkey

Property Fraud and Scams

Turkey is one of the best countries in the world for investment in property. House prices in Turkey have been increasing rapidly and property investors profit both while selling and renting their properties. However, Turkey has a complicated property law and it is being changed and updated regularly. Because of this fact, we recommend everyone who wishes to buy or sell property in Turkey to get professional legal support.

Property scams and property fraud crimes have increased in Turkey particularly in the last decade. Thousands of foreign people have bought properties in Turkey, especially in Istanbul, as an investment. Because of the housing bubble and as well massive demand for new properties, builders and construction companies started to sell properties before they start to build the project. The prominent problem in the Turkish real estate sector is that some construction companies cannot complete their projects because of some financial reasons. Thus, buyers sometimes cannot obtain the property they made payment for.

Counterfeiting and forgery are one of the most severe crime types in Turkish Criminal Code and the penalty of counterfeiting/forgery crime is depending on whether the document is official or not.  The related articles in the Turkish Criminal Code as follows:

“Any person who conveys untrue declaration to a public officer being authorized to issue official document is punished with imprisonment from 3 months to 2 years, or imposed punitive fine.”

“Any person who counterfeits a personal document or uses or changes the original to deceive others is punished with imprisonment from 1 year to 3 years. Any person who uses a counterfeit personal document being aware of this fact, is punished according to the provisions relating to forgery.”

real estate lawyer

How to Avoid Real Estate Scams

House inspection is the primary way to avoid property scams and real estate frauds because, in Turkey, there is limited legal protection for real estate buyers, particularly for international buyers. Therefore it is very important to have a sale/purchase agreement with correctly worded conditions. We recommend you telephone or email us before you sign any sale/purchase agreement. We can then ensure that the agreement gives you the required protection. After the signing of the purchase agreement, we will work with you to ensure that all the appropriate checks are made.

Atamer Law Firm and our legal team deal with all aspects of residential or commercial conveyancing in Turkey. We aim to find fast and practical solutions and to meet all of our client’s objectives and to protect the rights of the people we represent.

The legal services we provide are structured into three main streams:

  • Consultation, which provides transactional and regulatory advice.
  • Analysis, checking and overseeing titles and documents.
  • Litigation, focusing on litigation and dispute resolution.
  • Criminal case handling in case of a fraud or scam

Atamer Law Firm is mainly specialized in real estate law and criminal law. We have vast experience in real estate law and we provide solutions for all kinds of legal matters regarding real estate law.

We practice in all aspects of residential or commercial property transactions.

We provide legal advice and legal services:

  • Buying a Property
  • Sale of Property
  • Purchase of Property
  • Real Estate Frauds
  • Property Scams

Buying a Property in Turkey

In Turkey, there is limited legal protection for real estate buyers (particularly international buyers). Therefore it is very critical and important to have a sale/purchase agreement with correctly worded conditions. We recommend you telephone or email us before you sign any sale/purchase agreement. We can then ensure that the agreement gives you the required protection. After the signing of the purchase agreement, we will work with you to ensure that all the appropriate checks are made.

Selling a Property in Turkey

When selling an apartment, the seller should not give the purchasers the opportunity to claim compensation or to claim that the title or the property is defective. If you telephone or email us, we can check all these matters when you sell your property or before signing a sale agreement.

Fraud crimes and scams are one of our main area of expertise and or criminal lawyer team has vast experience in these types of crimes. Please contact us to learn more about the services we provide as property and real estate lawyers.

Ilker Atamer


10 Responses

  1. Shaiquel Jilani

    I am buying a predevelopment property from gokoz- builder – a local urban developer. Its two buildings. Ill own 10 units. In moda. My cist is 2,000,000 as a down payment. 1,500,000 due at close .

    I need help with making sure legally im safe as a foreign investor. Its a lot of money i cannot afford to lose. And some friends combined the money with me. I saw your website and realized ill need lawyer in the transaction.

    I need help to verify that the development is planned to be done to city code. That the building is done to city code. That builer has proper ownership rights and that i will obtsin proper ownership rights. And i probably need to have some first rights of refusal to make sure my investment is safe first and foremost.

  2. Martin Wise

    I purchased an apartment in Didm Turkey, off plan in 2010 from Aykar on the Appolon Holiday Complex, paying the full price at that time. The property was completed in 2012; we furnished and used it several times but kept being given excuses about getting our tapu etc. Rumours began to surface about the deleloper, Ali Cannock, using peoples appatments as security on loans to enrich himself and we were advised to get a solicitor; we got a local Didm lawyer who said at first we’d win our case later we were told the appartmrnt was not secure. I dont understand why I and others are liable for this mans debts, I’s say it was blatant fraud. Have we lost everything or do we have any course for redress or refund ?

    1. iatamer

      Dear Mr Wise, it’s extremely important to obtain “tapu” after the purchase of a property in Turkey. Getting the key from the seller or moving to a property does not mean that you are the owner. In other words, the seller or the construction company can do any legal transaction with the property unless they transfer the tapu to the buyer. You have mainly two different legal options. First, you can bring a lawsuit to obtain the tapu. Second, you can file a criminal complaint against the seller in case of a scam.

      1. S saad

        I’m in Istanbul, dealt with this agency for month, Remax in Atasehir, Metin in the owner, he is refusing to return my deposit because I didn’t agree on the lower price of the sale, the reason is to avoid paying taxes.
        Now he claims I’m the one who cancelling the sale as a result he is retaining deposit + commission.

        I’m looking for a solicitor in Istanbul urgently because I’m only here for couple of days.

        1. Ilker Atamer

          Dear Saad, if you call us to make an appointment we can definitely help you with that matter after a meeting at our firm.

  3. Morgan


    I have an inquiry and hope to guide me with. In 2014 I bought an Apartmant in Antalya through one of the known realstate agent companies over there. But recently I figure out the agent had sold me the apartment with double the price of its original property value that time. However recently I knew there is a new law that protects specifically the foreigners from such a fraud. I’m just wondering will I be able to place a dispute in Turkish court against them in order to claim my rights back ?


    1. Ilker Atamer

      Dear Morgan, we need to obtain all the details from you to analyze the issue whether it is only a consumer law infringement or if there’s a criminal law aspect of the matter considering the possibility that you might be a victim of scam or fraud crimes. Please contact us via email and provide us with more details.

  4. Sartaj Ahmed

    I have purchased an apartment in Esenyurt, Istabul. The builder made contract along with payment schedule and gave one copy to me. The apartment was at finishing stage. The builder promise to hand over Tapu in one week time after full payment. I made full payment in May 2019 but they did not give us TAPU till today. They do gave us flat keys in August 2019 and my family living there since then but still TAPU not handed over, it’s been 17 month gone now. project site office is still open and staff working there but they are not giving any timelines for handing over Tapu even today, also they are very rude and misbehaving with my family when they asked for TAPU. I understand that , without TAPU I can not claim to be a owner of this flat. They do not transfer electricity meter on our names, instead charging a self calculated amount on monthly basis. Almost every resident of this project has same issue on TAPU delay. Please guide what should I do , before the project Site office closed and they disappeared ?

    1. As you said, title deed (tapu) is the only and the most critical document that proves the ownership of a property in turkey. We would advise you to work with a professional real estate lawyer if you cannot obtain the tapu.

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