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United Communist Party v. Turkey, App. No. 19392/92, 26 Eur. H.R. Rep. 121, 146 (1998)

Facts: The United Communist Party of Turkey ('the TBKP') was accused of establishing the domination of one social class over the others, of having incorporated the word 'communist' into its name, of having carried on activities undermining the territorial integrity of the State and the unity of the nation. The Constitutional Court made an order dissolving the TBKP and the founders of the party were banned from holding similar office in any other political body.

Complaint: the fact that the United Communist Party of Turkey ('the TBKP') had been dissolved and its leaders banned from holding similar office in any other political party was a breach of article 11 of the Convention.

Holding: the ECHR found a violation of article 11.

Reasoning: a political party is not excluded from the protection afforded by the Convention simply because its activities are regarded by the national authorities as undermining the constitutional structures of the State and calling for the imposition of restrictions. The Court found an interference with the right of freedom of association in respect of all three applicants. The Court admitted that the dissolution of the TBKP pursued one of the 'legitimate aims' set out in Article 11: the protection of 'national security'. However, it noted that a political party's choice of name cannot justify a measure as drastic as dissolution, that the TBKP was not seeking to establish the domination of one social class over the others, and that it satisfied the requirements of democracy and that its program could not have been belied by any practical action it took, since it was dissolved immediately after being formed. The dissolution of the TBKP was thus disproportionate to the aim pursued and therefore unnecessary in a democratic society.

 


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