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Dogan and others v Turkey, (application nos. 8803-8811/02, 8813/02 and 8815-8819/02), [2004], ECHR, 29 June 2004

Facts: The 15 applicants lived in Turkey where state security forces evicted them from their village and destroyed their property in 1994. Between 1999 and 2001 the applicants filed petitions with the Turkish administration to return their property. The latter informed them that their return was prohibited for security reasons. Some applicants did not receive any response form the administration.

Complaint: the applicant claimed a violation of Articles 8 (right to respect for family life and home), 13 (right to an effective remedy) and Article 1 (protection of property) of the European Convention.

Holding: the ECHR found a violation of article 1, 8 and 13

Reasoning: Even if the applicants did not have registered their property, their economic resources and revenue were derived from their properties which therefore qualified as “possessions” under article 1. The applicants were deprived of all resources from which they derived their living because of the denial of access to their property. This constituted an interference with their right to the peaceful enjoyment of their possessions. The authorities did not meet its duty to ensure that the applicants could return voluntarily to their homes. Accordingly, the applicants had had to bear an individual and excessive burden which had upset the fair balance which should be struck between the requirements of the general interest and the protection of the right to the peaceful enjoyment of one’s possessions. There had therefore been a violation of Article 1. It was also an unjustified interference with the right to respect for family life and home so there had been a violation of Article 8 too. Finally, there was no available effective remedy in respect of the denial of access to the applicants’ homes so there had been a violation of Article 13.

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