More Turks are coming to Montenegro to start businesses, buy real estate and validate their diplomas. Legal advisors and real estate agents they collaborate with are mostly people who are leaving Turkey due to unstable political circumstances or disagreement with the policy ran by the president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Data from real estate agencies show that buyers from this country are already significantly present on the real estate market in Kotor, Budva, Petrovac, Podgorica and Zabljak.
For example, Turks have leased the popular café in the center of Petrovac, and have also purchased many apartments and houses in Budva, Podgorica and Kotor. Also, in the old town of Kotor they have opened several souvenir shops. Allegedly, a plot of 2.000 square meters on Savin Kuk in Zabljak has been sold to the Turks, which was until recently owned by a Montenegrin businessman. At this location a new hotel should be constructed soon.
In more than 440 newly founded companies in Montenegro during 2017, according to the data from the Central Register of Revenue office, the owners are Turkish citizens or companies from this country.
In just one-year, the number of companies owned by investors from Turkey has been multiplied six times.
During 2017, a total of 441 founders from Turkey (438 citizens and three companies) have registered a company in Montenegro. For comparison purposes, during 2016, a total of 76 Turks did the same, and in 2015 only 50.
The number of registered companies founded by Turkish citizens in the official records by the Central Registry is a lot more, i.e. a total of 810 companies.
“Most of the founders from Turkey (regardless of the registration date) registered their company in Podgorica – 311, Budva -282, Tivat – 83, Kotor- 39, Ulcinj – 34, Bar – 24, Rozaje – 18, Herceg Novi – 7, Bijelo polje – 5, Niksic – 3, Cetinje – 2, Putnjica and Berane - 1 each”, said the Revenue tax office in Montenegro.
As “Vijesti” found out, most of the new companies owned by Turks have been registered for carrying out consulting services, construction works and real estate, and the sale of goods.
“I didn’t get the impression that these are wealthy people, but a mid-class of highly intelligent individuals, musicians and scientists among others. They don’t have good expectations for their future in Turkey and fear of a possible war," said one of the famous lawyers in Budva, requesting to stay anonymous.
The owner of Zetagradnja, one of the most successful construction companies in Podgorica, Blagota Radovic, says that among his clients there are more and more Turkish citizens.
“From the New Year there is a notable increase in demand for apartments," said Radovic.
The Ministry of Education, led by the Minister Damir Sehovic answered a question about how many diplomas have been validated in Montenegro in the last year, saying that in the most recent period, the requests for validation of diplomas attained in Turkey have increased.
“To be more precise, in the last few months we received 70 requests for validation. Most of them are university diplomas attained at public institutions of higher education," said the Ministry.
They also explained that “the procedure for each request depends on the specific requirement, i.e. that each request goes through a process which includes verification of the institution’s status and the diploma itself."
“If there is a valid diploma by a licensed and accredited institution, the Ministry is obliged to validate the same. We also remind you that nearly 200 Montenegrin students are in the Republic of Turkey. Therefore, we have an excellent collaboration with this country regarding higher education systems. Also, this is a country where almost all educational institutions are mostly high-rated," added the Ministry.
According to their data, in the last period, 100 Montenegrin citizens completed their studies, and one part of the requests are from Turkish citizens.
“We have over 2.000 requests for validation of diplomas attained abroad per year," said the Ministry of Education.
The two biggest investments in Montenegro from Turkey, up until now, are Toscelik's purchase of ex “Željezara” properties in Niksic during the second half of 2012 for 15,1 million euro and the purchase of a control package from ex Container terminals and general cargo in Bar, known today as Port Adria, at the end of 2013 for 8,08 million euros.
The brand Meritt operates within the Turkish NET Holding, which has contracts on casinos management in the Montenegrin Hilton hotel (Podgorica), Splendid (Becici) and Avala (Budva).
During 2016, the cash flow from Turkey was approx. 2,13 million, and in 2017 approx. 2,73 million euro. Payment instructions in direct investments from this country, according to the official data by the Central bank, is 17,78 million in 2016, and 23,8 million euros in 2017.Misers in trades, while Russians were known for their generosity
Just how much activity the Turks have conducted lately on the domestic real estate market is best shown by advertisements for sale at the most attractive locations in the Capital, which could not be imagined without the word “kiralik” which in the Turkish language means leasing.
“They are now among the chief buyers. They usually come to the agency with cousins or friends and are very “tough” in negotiations. They are real misers while doing trades and we can only remember, with sadness, the generosity of the Russian buyers," said one of the private agency’s managers in Podgorica who acts as an intermediary in real estate sales and purchases.
He states that Turks participate in the total number of 30 percent, with their sales and purchase transactions, on the real estate market.
Fear from the secret and revenue tax offices in Turkey is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to find a person willing to talk among the Turks to better explain the motivations for their arrival to the country.
Managers from real estate agencies and lawyers whom “Vijesti” spoke to said that they do not want to reveal their clients’ names due to the nature of their business.
“Vijesti” has been told that the information on newly founded companies owned by Turkish citizens in Montenegro have been requested only by the employees in the Embassy of Turkey in Podgorica.
Text by Milorad Milosevic, on March 12, 2018 read more at Vijesti