The Turkish Constitutional Court recently considered a claim that an applicant's property rights had been violated regarding real estate for which it held a "title allocation deed", first obtained in 1985. The real estate was classified as a natural protected area by Istanbul 3rd Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board. The court noted that generally, such a deed is not considered to be a property right. However, the court held that in these circumstances, the applicant had established a property right due to the administration's failure to object to long-term use of the real estate. Therefore, the Constitutional Court held that an evacuation order, given without compensation, violated the applicant's property rights (2013/6670; 6 October 2015).
The applicant originally initiated a lawsuit before the Administration Court against an evacuation order made by the General Directorate of National Real Estate. The Administrative Court rejected the case and the rejection was later approved by the Council of State. The case was then brought before the Constitutional Court.
Cancellation of the Title Allocation Deed:
The Constitutional Court clarified that a title allocation deed simply certifies the subject real estate is held by such individual; it does not impose any obligation on the administration to grant a title deed. The court referred to a European Court of Human Rights' ("ECHR") opinion which states that where a title allocation deed is granted for real estate, the real estate is deemed to be public property. The court notes that it is established that a title deed represents a property right and can be asserted against anyone. However, the court held that the expectation of the title allocation deed owner with respect to a property right is not subject to Constitutional protection. Therefore, the court rejected the title applicant's claims due to lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter.
Evacuation without Compensation:
The applicant had used the real estate since 1972 and paid taxes since 1981, without any objections from the Department of Treasury. Accordingly, in line with the ECHR precedents, the Constitutional Court accepted that the applicant had established a property right. The court held that demolishing the real estate and evacuating the applicant without compensation violated the applicant's property rights.
The Constitutional Court held that failing to pay the real estate's value or offer any compensation violated the principle of proportionality. The court emphasized that for an interference with property rights to be deemed proportional, the payable amount must be adjusted for inflation.
The Constitutional Court rejected the applicant's compensation claims. The court reasoned that the applicant is entitled to initiate a lawsuit to obtain the real estate's value and determining the compensation amount requires a trial.
The full text of the Constitutional Court's reasoned decision (2013/6670, dated 10 June 2015) was published in Official Gazette number 29479 on 18 September 2015 and can be found at this link (only available in Turkish).
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