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Russian invasion of Ukraine drives property boom in Turkey – Arab News

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ANKARA: Russians looking to bypass Western sanctions and Ukrainians seeking to flee the war are driving a property boom in Turkey, with prices in some areas more than trebling in recent weeks.
As part of the sanctions imposed on Russia, several banks in the country have been excluded from the SWIFT messaging system. Oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin have also been targeted.
But Ankara is not party to the Western financial sanctions and has not halted direct flights with Russia. That means Russians have the opportunity to build a new life in Turkey, and can take their cash, gold and cryptocurrencies with them.
After Iranians and Iraqis, Russians are the third-largest buyers of Turkish property. According to official figures, in February alone, they bought 509 houses, almost doubling the figure for the same period of last year. Ukrainians bought 111 properties in the month.
The spike in interest was noted by Turkish property website Emlakjet.com.
“Searches by Russians rose by 61 percent compared to the previous month,” its CEO Tolga Idikat told Arab News.
“The highest number of property searches by Ukrainians occurred in February when the political crisis reached its peak. Their demand is mostly concentrated in the Mediterranean resort town of Antalya, while they prefer villas and single-family houses.”
The number of searches by Russians in March more than doubled year on year, while those made by Ukrainians rose by 30 percent, Idikat said.
The increase in demand has driven up prices by at least threefold and made them euro-denominated, while real estate agents are predicting a supply shortage in the months ahead, he added.
“The number of houses cannot match the demand, which increases day by day. The currency advantage that foreign investors have also pushes prices up,” Idikat said.
Unlike Russians, who mostly want to live in Turkey, Ukrainians are looking for short-term deals, usually for about three or four months, as they expect to return home after the war, he added.
Russians’ preferred destinations are Istanbul, Antalya, the western city of Izmir and the northwestern city of Bursa. They are looking for properties both to buy and rent.
Under Turkish law, Russians who buy a property worth $250,000 and keep it for at least three years are entitled to a Turkish passport. The slump in the value of the Turkish lira is also a draw for buyers.
There are currently about 30,000 Russians and 9,000 Ukrainians living in Antalya, mostly in Konyaalti and Manavgat districts.
In response to the spike in demand, several real estate websites, including Emlakjet, are now promoting their properties directly to Russian buyers.
“Although we haven’t yet offered a special content for Russian and Ukrainian house-seekers, some of our members have begun publishing notices in the Russian language,” Idikat said.
The housing spike is a boon for Turkey, which is set to lose out on tourism revenue as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Tourism accounts for about 3.8 percent of the country’s GDP, and more than a quarter of all visitors last year were from Russia and Ukraine — 4.7 million from the former and 2.1 million from the latter.
“Turkey is quite exposed to the economic shocks caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Robert Mogielnicki, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, told Arab News.
So a short-term boost to real estate markets could help to soften the economic blow, he said.
TOKYO: Japan’s telephone diplomacy remained active with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on April 6, who held talks with Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, and confirmed their cooperation to stabilize the energy market.
Kishida stated that Qatar is a strategic partner for Japan and expressed his intention to maintain close ties with Al-Thani. The Japanese PM also expressed his gratitude for Qatar’s assistance in the evacuation of the Afghan citizens after the fall of Kabul, and its cooperation in realizing the return of Japanese energy cooperation citizens from Russia.
In response, Qatar’s Emir expressed his renewed hopes for strengthening bilateral relations with Japan and stated that Qatar will continue cooperation on issues related to Afghanistan and Russia, according to the foreign ministry in Tokyo. In this regard, the leaders talked about the situation in Ukraine and said they will continue to coordinate their response closely.
The two leaders confirmed that Qatar and Japan will cooperate toward stabilizing the international energy market. Kishida expressed his hopes for Qatar’s contribution as one of the world’s largest LNG exporters. Al-Thani said he hopes Japanese companies with advanced technologies will contribute to the development of human resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The two leaders also confirmed to further promote cooperation beyond the energy sector in various fields, especially on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Qatar.
CAIRO: An Arab delegation held talks in Warsaw with Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau before meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba.
The meetings focused on efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The delegation asked Rau to facilitate the transit of Arabs leaving Ukraine for Poland, and discussed Arab-Polish relations.
According to an Arab League statement, the delegation stressed the “necessity of a ceasefire and an end to the crisis on the basis of international law, the Charter of the United Nations, the principles of good neighbourliness, and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.”
The delegation — which included Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit and the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Algeria and Sudan — arrived in Warsaw from Moscow, where they met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said: “A political solution is possible.” During a press conference with Kuleba, Lamamra added that the delegation “has become more aware of the development of the situation in the Ukrainian crisis and the existing concerns after its meeting with the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine.”
He stressed the delegation’s “deep concern about this crisis, its repercussions at all levels, especially its humanitarian consequences, and the threats it poses to global peace and security.”
Lamamara said: “The Arabs cannot be indifferent to a major crisis facing two countries with which they have very close and friendly relations based on mutual respect and cooperation.”
He added: “We are here because we firmly believe in the virtues of diplomacy and dialogue to reach peaceful and political solutions to problems, no matter how difficult or complex they are.”
KARAK: Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan joined an iftar in the historic Karak Castle, in the Al Karak Governorate on Tuesday, which hosted a group of women who have contributed to the local community.  
Queen Rania commended the women for their roles in education, social welfare, culture, volunteering, and humanitarian aid. 
“Ramadan is always a month of goodwill, blessings, and reconnecting with loved ones, but this year it feels even more special than usual – perhaps because we have been unable to get together for Iftar like this for the past two years,” Queen Rania said.

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