Preventing division of agricultural lands carry importance regarding both preserving quality at sector and its impact to agricultural income of domestic economy. Because every positive steps taken at agriculture sector also creates a positive movement at economy. One of the most important steps taken in this regard is the amendments made at Law on Soil Protection and Land Use numbered 5403 on 2014. Within the context of these amendments, definitions regarding minimum agricultural land size and agricultural land size of sufficient income are defined. With this way, some conditions are defined regarding portion of inheritance and transfer of ownership at agricultural lands with designated sizes.

With the Law on the Amendment of the Law on Soil Protection and Land Use numbered 6537 in 2014, it is regulated that inheritors shall complete transition processes via courts unless they complete it via settlement within one year after death of deceased for inheritors of deceased who died after 15 May 2014 and left agricultural land as inheritance. In this one year term, in heritors can decide to transfer the ownership of the agricultural area to one of the inheritors, more than one inheritor, to a family partnership, a limited liability company which they will found or even to a third party. But, when deciding at transfer stage, minimum agricultural land size and agricultural land size of sufficient income conditions should be taken into account since it is aimed to protect agricultural lands from dividing and losing it’s area more than designated amounts. This goal is also aimed before amendments regulated at  Law numbered 6537 but “agricultural land size of sufficient income” stating minimum unit that agricultural lands can divide (5403 article 3/ı) and “agricultural land size” stating a minimum limit for defining agricultural land size of sufficient income (5403 article 3/h) firstly defined with this regulation.

In the article 8/A of Law on Soil Protection and Land Use; it is stated that agricultural lands cannot be divided less than agricultural land size of sufficient income, share and shareholder amount cannot be increased at these lands and related directorate of land registry will be notified by Ministry regarding characteristic of these lands. In this context, it will not be possible to increase share and shareholder amount of agricultural land size of sufficient income however there are no obstacles on transferring these shares to another shareholder or a third party.


If inheritors do not come to a settlement regarding transfer of ownership or one of the inheritors does not request transfer of ownership of the inherited agricultural land from competent civil court of first instance within one year after death of deceased, Ministry shall give an additional period of 3 months to inheritors. If transfer procedures of the agricultural land do not completed within this period, a lawsuit can be filed against inheritors. Ministry shall file these lawsuits ex officio and these lawsuits are exempt from any court expense. At this lawsuit, court can decide transfer of ownership from agricultural income value to a competent inheritor with taking personal skills and abilities into account or if there are more than one competent inheritors, to the inheritor who is living off from agriculture sector or if more than one competent inheritors has other agricultural lands besides inherited lands, to them in order to increase their land amount in order to increase them to the limties of agricultural land size of sufficient income or finally if there are no competent inheritors, court will rule transfer ownership to the highest bidder inheritor. If no inheritors wants to claim the land, court will rule for the sale of the land.

At this point, if we have to define the competent inheritor; conditions in order to be considered as competent inheritor regulated at legislations issued by Ministry of Agriculture. In accordance with this legislation containing a point evaluation system, inheritors who has 50 points or more than 50 points are considered as competent inheritors. When evaluating; conditions like inheritor earning his/her income from the inherited land, not having any non-agricultural income, having the necessary knowledge and ability to process the lands, residing duration of inheritor where the land is located, being a woman, owning necessary machines and equipment in order to process the land are taken into account.

If an increase occurs at the value of a part or whole of the agricultural land with sufficient income due to non-agricultural usage within 20 years after transfer of ownership to an inheritor, material value of the land at the time of transfer is recalculated with taking date of allowing non-agricultural usage at land into account. The value difference between two rates is paid to inheritors in accordance with their shares by the inheritor who acquired the land with the transfer. For the deaths occurred before 15 May 2014; transfers which have not been completed yet should be completed in accordance with the articles of preceding law. It is possible to register the transfer requests as joint ownership, condominium-principled ownership or voluntary distribution for the inheritance of deaths occurred before 15 May 2014.


Importance of these regulations are undisputable when division of agricultural lands by inheritance, decreasing efficiency at agriculture sector and their damage to the economy are taken into account. However, difficulties at interpreting the law and criticism arising from at real estate sector stating regulations are unpractical shows that there will be legal obstacles to overcome for applications within the context of the Law numbered 5403. For this reason, it is advised to seek legal counselling in order to not to face any forfeiture.

Att. Zühra ACAR – Att. Demet YILMAZ UTKANER