Turkey's furniture sector has been boosted by a surge in home sales to foreigners thanks to the country's program for getting citizenship through investment, according to sector observers.
Home purchases by foreigners have risen sharply since last year, when Turkey eased conditions under the program.
Under the changes, foreigners who invest $500,000 in Turkey, deposit $500,000 in Turkish banks, or buy real estate worth $250,000 acquire the right to lifetime citizenship.
In the first seven months of 2019, the number of homes purchased by foreigners leaped 64.5% year-on-year to over 24,000, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).
Iraqis, Saudis top customers
Nuri Gurcan, head of the Furniture Industry Businessmen Association, said home sales to foreigners pushed up furniture sales by as much as 20%.
Iraqi and Saudi nationals -- the top foreign home buyers -- also show great interest in Turkish furniture, he told Anadolu Agency.
Furniture used in Turkish TV series has led to increased demand for Turkish furniture by foreigners," he noted.
Turkish TV series, one of the country's top cultural exports, enjoy popularity in countries worldwide, including the Middle East
He said fluctuations in exchange rates have also helped make Turkish furniture a more attractive buy.
Turkish furniture exports generated $2 billion in the first half of 2019, and the target for year's-end is $3.7 billion, he said.
Turkish TV shows spurring sales
Turgay Terzi, the head of Istanbul-based furniture firm Art Design, said foreigners who acquired Turkish citizenship are behind around some 10% of all furniture sales in Turkey.
Demand for Turkish furniture is particularly high in the Middle East, he said, adding that Turkish TV series have helped fuel these sales.
Middle Eastern people prefer handcrafted modern furniture, while European customers opt for more basic, everyday designs, he told Anadolu Agency.
Source: Anadolu Agency