Members of the Islamic Society USA participate in an initiative to help Turkey shore up its currency. Members bought 100 Turkish lira (worth US$16.23) for US$200 on September 14. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Mohammed Elshamy

Ankara on Monday slashed the amount of capital investment required for expatriates to obtain Turkish citizenship, state news agency Anadolu reported, from US$2 million to US$500,000.

Those with bank deposits or real estate worth US$500,000 are also eligible for citizenship, Anadolu said, citing the Official Gazette. Previously, non-Turks were required to have US$3 million in the bank or at least US$1 million worth of real estate.

The new, watered-down regulations were announced as Turkey seeks foreign investment amid a currency crisis. The Turkish lira that has lost 40% of its value this year slipped again on Tuesday, wiping out gains made after the central bank’s 24% interest rate hike less than a week before.

The Official Gazette announcement said that foreigners who employ at least 50 people will have a path to a Turkish passport. The previous minimum was 100.

The new laws are likely to be especially welcomed by Syrian businessmen who have taken up residence in Turkey after fleeing their country’s civil war, given the limitations of the Syrian passport for travel.

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