Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Russians rush from Turkey as costs and restrictions bite

Russians Turkey Istanbul Bridge Pixabay
The Istanbul Bridge. Foreigners are leaving Turkey, with overall residency visa numbers falling from a peak of 1.4 million in 2022 to 1.1 million
  • Russians with residence permits down 37%
  • Total residency permits down 18%
  • Rising costs and restrictions blamed

Rising costs, increased difficulties in obtaining residency permits and tighter enforcement of restrictions on the number of foreign nationals who can live in popular regions are prompting an exodus of Russian citizens from Turkey. 

The number of Russian nationals holding Turkish residence permits has plunged to just over 96,000 as of May 16, down from 154,000 at the end of 2022, according to the interior ministry. 

While Russians are still second on the rankings of foreign residents in Turkey, behind nationals of Turkmenistan, the current total is almost 40 percent down on 17 months ago. 

It is not just Russian nationals, many of whom left for home after the beginning of the war in Ukraine, who are now heading to the door in Turkey.

Overall residency visa numbers fell from a peak of 1.35 million in 2022 to 1.11 million as of May 16, according to the ministry, though the fall is somewhat steeper for Russians than other countries. 

Increasingly tight requirements for residential visas have been cited as a major cause for the reverse flow of Russians and others seeking to live in Turkey, with the government having raised barriers to foreigners settling in the country.

This was in response to public opinion that saw the rising tide of overseas nationals as pushing up housing prices and feeding into inflation, running at nearly 70 percent in April. 

Though still the largest single foreign bloc of investors in the Turkish property market, Russians are no longer the dominant force they were. In April Russian nationals bought 293 houses and flats in Turkey, a far cry from the 817 in the same month last year, according to the Turkish statistical institute. 

The longer-term trend follows a similar line, with 1,650 units sold to Russian buyers in the first four months of the year, as against 4,730 over the January to April period in 2023, according to the institute.

Along with price, another factor impacting real estate sales to Russians in some popular regions is a ceiling imposed by the government on foreigners living in any district.

This has closed off some of the more desirable areas, such as those along the Mediterranean coast, according to Dr. Ahmet Büyükduman, a realtor and property analyst.

“Under Turkish state regulations, the number of foreign nationals cannot go above 25 percent of residents,” Büyükduman told AGBI. “We saw that in the popular Konyaaltı district of Antalya, with the system being closed to new foreign national residencies.”

There could be an upside for locals if the Russian retreat from Turkey continues, Büyükduman said, at least in the Mediterranean regions. 

“Russians leaving would not impact on the overall real estate sector in Turkey but will have an impact in Antalya in particular,” he said.

“Their moving to Antalya pushed up prices of real estate, both sales and rents, and now with them leaving these prices will deflate.”

Latest articles

Opec Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais says peak oil 'is not on the horizon'

Upstream oil and gas ‘needs more annual investment’

Annual capital expenditure for exploration and production in the upstream sector of the oil industry needs to increase by 22 percent by 2030 because of growing demand and cost inflation, experts say. A cumulative $4.3 trillion needs to be invested between 2025 and 2030, according to a report by the International Energy Forum (IEF) and […]

Rothschild Saudi

Edmond de Rothschild to run funding vehicle for Saudi projects

The Edmond de Rothschild Group is establishing a funding vehicle for infrastructure projects in Saudi Arabia along with the local firm SNB Capital, as part of a deal in which the Swiss investment bank will set up offices in the country.  Saudi Arabia’s massive economic diversification programme has run into financial obstacles as it faces […]

Turkey foreign property sales

Foreigners turning back on Turkish real estate

Foreign buyers are increasingly shunning the Turkish property market, wary of high prices, the expensive cost of living and a less welcoming environment for overseas real estate investors. There were only 2,064 residential units sold to foreign buyers in May, 35 percent down on the same month last year, data issued by the state statistics […]

2KEY8G1 Emirates Airline Airbus A380 aircraft landing. Aerial view of Emirates Airlines A380-800 airplane. An Emirates plane coming in to land at LAX; a spokesperson for Emirates said the contraventions were for safety reasons

US fines Emirates for operating in prohibited airspace

Emirates has been fined $1.5 million by the US Transportation Department for operating flights carrying JetBlue Airways’ JBLU.O designator code in prohibited airspace. The transportation department said that between December 2021 and August 2022, Emirates operated a significant number of flights carrying the JetBlue Airways code between the United Arab Emirates and the United States […]