Thousands of Turks have become “Lords” and “Ladies” thanks to a scheme that allows them to buy tiny plots of land in Scotland in return for the titles.
The figures were revealed by businessman Fırat Kurtoğlu, who told Turkey’s Anadolu Agency that he runs a company in Turkey that can arrange for land to be “bought” in the Glencoe area of the Scottish highlands for £105.
Some 16,000 men and 24,000 women have become “aristocrats” since the service was launched in 2013.
“You only need to purchase a plot of one square metre,” Mr Kurtoğlu was quoted as saying. “The money is used to preserve the nature in Scotland, and the plots you buy are in one of the most beautiful places in Europe, with lush landscape.
“They managed to convert a marshland into a green space with money collected from plot sales.”
The Turkish “nobility” – said to include celebrities such as actress Fahriye Evcen, actor Burak Özçivit, singers Kenan Doğulu and Sibel Can and talk-show host Beyazıt Öztürk – are invited to Scotland every May for a three-day gathering where they can inspect the plots and learn more about conservation efforts.
A website called highlandtitles.com offers “souvenir plots of land” for sale which allow purchasers to “style yourself as Lord or Lady of Glencoe” and become part of a “unique conservation project”.
Those paying for a “personal right” to a souvenir plot of land also acquire permission from Highland Titles to use its “registered trademarks” of “Laird, Lord and Lady of Glencoe”.
Souvenir land cannot be “officially registered” so “technically Highland Titles Ltd has to remain as the registered owner of the land on your behalf” the website states.
“This, combined with the fact that Highland Titles Ltd is owned by The Highland Titles Charitable Trust for Scotland . . . ensures that the land can only ever be used for the purposes of conservation.”
The website explains that the “titles” have no official status, but that the company have heard of “fun” stories of them being used to blag “flight upgrades” and “preferential treatment”.
“Please note you cannot buy a noble title. This is for enjoyment purposes only,” it adds.
Highland Titles has previously denied claims made on social media that its scheme is a “scam”.
“The overwhelming majority see our product as it is intended; a bit of fun and the chance to be part of something constructive and rewarding,” it said.
Photo of view from Glencoe Woods, c/o Highland Titles