ECtHR Convicts Turkey in Case of 'Seventh-day Adventists’

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has given its judgement regarding the application of six citizens of Turkey who were prevented from establishing the Foundation of Turkish Seventh-day Adventists.

Evaluating the application submitted by Erkin Altınkaynak, Meral Altınkaynak, Sibel Sahlimov, Hüsnü Bostan, Volkan Ataalp and Sahire Melek Jones, the ECtHR has sentenced Turkey to pay pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages for “violating the freedom of assembly and association.”

Accordingly, Turkey will pay 8 thousand 724 Euro (approx. 54 thousand Turkish Lira) in total to six people as pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.

Foundation not included in official register

In October 2004, an application was made to establish the Foundation of Turkish Seventh-day Adventists to meet the religious needs of Seventh-day Adventists living permanently or temporarily in Turkey.

Erkin Altınkaynak, Meral Altınkaynak, Sibel Sahlimov, Hüsnü Bostan, Volkan Ataalp and Sahire Melek Jones were the founders of the foundation.

However, the foundation in question was refused to be included in the official register on the ground that the domestic law did not allow foundations to serve the sole interests of members of a specific community.

The objections to this decision were rejected by the court and the related verdict of the court was also approved by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Appealing to the Euroepan Court of Human Rights, the founders of the foundation argued that their right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of assembly and association, prohibition of discrimination and prohibition of abuse of rights have been violated.

In its judgement dated January 15, the ECtHR ruled that the freedom of assembly of the applicants as guaranteed by the Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights has been violated and sentenced Turkey to pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages of 8 thousand 724 Euro in total.

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