Mehmet Akdoğan ve Diğerleri Başvurusu

Mehmet Akdoğan ve Diğerleri Başvurusu

Mehmet Akdoğan and others, Application No: 2013/817, 19 December 2013

A) Facts

A decision of expropriation was issued by the Municipal Board of Develi concerning the property of the applicants. In 2003, the Municipality applied to the court for a decision to determine the property’s value and to register it in the land registry under the Municipality’s name, while the applicants brought a case for the annulment of the expropriation decision. Upon the finalization of the court decision, the value of the property was determined to be 64,680 TL and the land was registered under the Municipality’s name. The applicants stated that although the legal process had started in 2003, they received compensation for their expropriated land in 2012 but no interest was paid. They argued that due to this lack of interest, they did not receive the full value of their land and this amounted to a violation of their right to property.

B) Judgment and Reasoning of the Court

The Court decided that the demand to receive the full value of the land fell under the scope of the right to property. With regards expropriation, Articles 35 and more specifically 46 were closely linked to Article 13 of the Constitution. The Court underlined that Article 35 of the Constitution was in line with Article 1 of Optional Protocol 1, and both articles stipulated the scope of and the limits to right to property. The Court then noted that right to property could be restricted in cases of public interest, and expropriation was a form of such restriction. In the determination of public interest, the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) that allowed states a greater margin of appreciation was alluded to. The Constitutional Court also highlighted that, under certain circumstances to achieve greater justice, the ECtHR considered compensation for expropriation that was below the full value of the land proportionate.

That said, the Court stated that in this present case, there was no legitimate aim that justified the lack of payment of the full value or the lack of payment of the interest. Over the course of almost 9 years, the applicants were unable to use the amount of compensation as investment. Compensation received by the applicants, according to the valuation of property in 2003, without any interest, amounted a significant loss of value. As a result, the applicants had to bear a disproportionate and excessive burden, which could not be justified against the legitimate public interest. The Court ruled that the applicants’ right to property was violated. The applicants were awarded monetary damages.

C) Significance of the Judgement

This decision marked the first time that the Constitutional Court examined the merits of a case concerning right to property and ruled that there was a violation. The Court has since received an overwhelming number of complaints concerning expropriation of land. Mehmet Akdoğan and others is often cited in these following decisions on the issue of loss of value and inadequate compensation. The Constitutional Court also refers to this decision in other instances to explain the parallel stipulation of the right to property in Article 35 of the Constitution in relation to Article 1 of the Optional Protocol.