According to Law No 5901 on Turkish Citizenship, there are three procedures for naturalisation of foreign citizens. Citizenship may be acquired through:
- Normal procedure: According to the normal procedure, the foreigner must have a valid residence permit in Turkey for 5 years. The foreigner with a valid residence permit must not leave Turkey more than 180 days during the 5-year residence period. If this period is exceeded, the 5-year period is restarted.
After the completion of 5 years, it is not possible to directly acquire citizenship. First, the Citizenship Committee makes an assessment of the economic status and social cohesion of the applicant. Afterwards, security checks are conducted by the local police and the National Intelligence Organisation and the collected information is sent to the General Directorate of Citizenship of the Ministry of Interior. If no issues are raised at the end of the security investigation, the applicant acquires the Turkish citizenship under a proposal of the General Directorate of Citizenship of the Ministry of Interior through the approval of the Minister of Interior.
- Marriage to a Turkish citizen: If the marriage of the applicant lasts 3 years and is effective, the applicant can acquire the citizenship. However, the applicant again needs to be ‘cleared’ by a security investigation.
- Exceptional circumstances: Citizenship based on exceptional circumstances is mostly granted to foreigners who bring industrial skills or contributing to the scientific, economic, cultural, social and sportive progress of Turkey, without any residence or temporal conditions. In this way, it is aimed at granting qualified people Turkish citizenship as quickly as possible.
While some Syrian nationals under temporary protection have been able to access citizenship through the exceptional circumstances procedure (see Temporary Protection: Naturalisation), access to citizenship is not provided to non-Syrian nationals in practice.
Detailed statistics are not available but there was a reported decrease in citizenship granted in 2020. Those who were granted citizenship who were known to stakeholders were mostly university students or those married to a Turkish citizen.