Simplifying Land Issues In Turkey
February 17, 2014
Mehmet Kömürcü says fertile fields have long been the source of his and other farmers’ livelihoods in the Kazan region of Turkey.
Until recently though, he says, the land could also be a source of disputes.
“In the past, we didn’t know the exact borders of our fields, and people were constantly violating each other’s land. But now the borders are well-defined,” says Kömürcü.
Accurately measuring properties and facilitating real estate transactions in Turkey are part of the country’s Land Registry and Cadastre Modernization Project, backed by the World Bank.
The government-run project has been surveying, documenting, and correcting measurements for millions of acres of land around Turkey since the project began in 2008.
Before, it was all in separate areas – some things were five kilometers away, the others two kilometers away. Here, you save time.
The information is being turned into updated maps to replace the older, sometimes erroneous ones dating back to the 1950’s.
And the new data is being stored on a national server, making it easily accessible to the public.
“The digitalization process allows us to relay all our field work to computers, and, more importantly, the data is available on people’s computer screens,” says Burak Keser of Turkey’s Department of Land Registry and Cadastre, which oversees the project.
As part of the project, Turkey’s agencies responsible for land and property registration are being renewed or, in some cases, totally rebuilt.
The new land registry locations have clearly marked information signs, ample personnel, on-site banks, and offices serving municipalities throughout the region.
Such centralization, says realtor Emrah Öner, makes it easier and faster for citizens to verify property ownership and size, assess land and house prices, and document mortgages – all in the same place.
“Before, it was all in separate areas – some things were five kilometers away, the others two kilometers away. Here, you save time,” says Öner.
As a result of the project’s new technology and an increase in trained staff, employees in land registry and cadastre agencies around Turkey say they have improved their accuracy and pace.
It has become faster, sales are no trouble, and you get text messages when it is time to pay the taxes.
“The space before was much smaller, now it is larger and we have been upgraded with new computers,” says Sevgi Macan, who works as a Computer Operator at a newly-built Land Registry office in the city of Bursa.
Mehmet Sayım, a contractor, says it now takes him less than half the time it used to in order to buy or sell property since under the project most of the related paperwork is now in one place.
“It has become faster, sales are no trouble, and you get text messages when it is time to pay the taxes” he says.
Sherafettin Hüroğlu, a retired factory worker, says that in the past, dealing with his property deeds had taken him many days, or even weeks.
Hüroğlu exclaimed that this time he was done in just a couple of hours. “I left the land registry directorate at 11:30, and I got a text message saying my transaction was ready and I had to come back at 1!”
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