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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Human rights court rules in Turkish church’s favorcomment (0)

January 7, 2010


STRASBOURG, France — In a decision many hope will lead to greater religious freedom in Turkey, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found that a Turkish court ruling barring a church from starting a foundation violated the congregation’s right to freedom of association.

Orhan Kemal Cengiz, a Turkish attorney and legal adviser for the litigants, said the decision earlier this year was the first time the ECHR has held that religious organizations have a right to exist in Turkey.

Cengiz added that this case is just the first of many needed to correct conflicts within the Turkish legal system in regard to freedom of association, known in Turkey as the concept of “legal personality.”

“This case is a significant victory, but it is the first case in a long line of cases to come,” Cengiz said.

In its decision, the court unanimously found that the Turkish courts’ “refusal to register the foundation, although permitted under Turkish law, had not been necessary in a democratic society and that there had been a violation of Article 11.”

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