ECHR rules Turkey violated right to assembly of church members
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Jan. 15 that Turkey had violated the rights of the Foundation of Turkish Seventh-day Adventists after local courts refused to officially register the foundation.
Turkish nationals Erkin Altınkaynak, Meral Altınkaynak, Sibel Sahlimov, Hüsnü Bostan, Volkan Ataalp and Sahire Melek Jones had set up the foundation, called “Türkiye Yedincigün Adventistleri Vakfı” in Turkish, in September 2004 for the purpose of meeting the religious needs of Turkish and foreign Seventh-day Adventists living permanently or temporarily in Turkey.
The ECHR case concerned the Turkish courts’ refusal to include the foundation in question in the official registry on the grounds that the domestic law did not allow foundations to serve the sole interests of members of a specific community.
In October 2004 the applicants requested that the Court of First Instance officially registers the foundation. The court, however, dismissed the request, with Turkey’s Court of Cassation upholding the judgment.
The ECHR then decided to examine the applicants’ complaints under Article 11 of the convention and ruled that Turkey violated the aforementioned article, which settles freedom of assembly and association, sentencing Turkey to an approximately 9,000 euro fine.
In two separate cases, the court also ruled that Turkey had violated the rights of two citizens following medical negligence claims.
Halil Kanal died on June 22, 2014 after complaining of a prostatectomy operation for the removal of his prostate in order to treat prostate cancer.
Kanal had said his right to respect for private and family life had been breached as the surgical operation led to harmful consequences and that he had had no effective remedy for his complaint.
After he died, his heirs wished to continue with the application.
The court judged that Article 8 of the convention — the right to respect private and family life — had been violated and sentenced Turkey to a fine of 10,000 euros.
In the other case, Ali Osman Öney and Hanife Öney had applied to the European court after the death of their daughter Emine following a tonsillectomy in a private hospital in 2002.
Relying on Article 6 — right to a fair trial — the Öney family complained that they had not had an effective remedy in order to have the doctors’ criminal responsibility. The court examined the applicants’ complaints under Article 2 — right to life — of the convention and ruled that Turkey violated the article and ruled a fine of 20,000 euros.