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Divorcing British emigrants in Turkey struggle with the legal system

New report foresees ‘major legal issues’

Many Britons who move to Turkey are failing to grasp local and international laws, leaving them financially at risk when making legal transactions or using the legal system, a study from Queen Mary, University of London, has found.
Being unable to speak or read Turkish has made navigating such issues a "legal minefield" for many Brits who emigrate to the Aegean coast.

Funded by the Nuffield Foundation The Legal Adaptation of British Settlers in Turkey, written by Dr Prakash Shah and Dr Derya Bayir of Queen Mary's School of Law, focuses on British citizens settling in Mugla, a popular tourist spot in Turkey, and their social and legal experiences as well as how Turkey is adapting its legal system to accommodate such "lifestyle" immigrants.

The Turkish legal system may impact on Britons who have a Turkish partner. "If the pair divorce, where the British spouse provided some or all the purchase price, court action might not produce a result which favours them, meaning life savings can be lost," Dr Shah explains.

"Some Brits in Turkey are unaware that they may have to rely on British laws in some instances, for example to make wills or in divorce cases."

Dr Shah adds:

"The issue of wills and inheritance is already causing some concern among British settlers and is likely to be a major legal issue in years to come."


For more details of the report, please click here.