Turkey's Constitutional Court recently ruled that a property
owner's constitutional rights were violated by a failure to
ensure a balance between public interests and the individual's
property ownership rights. The applicant owned an office on a
street which the Ankara Transportation Coordination Centre
("Transport Centre") closed in 2001 to
pedestrian and vehicle traffic, in order to ensure the Israeli
Street residents objected to the closure and the Transport
Centre sought the Ankara Governorship's opinion on the topic.
The Governorship decided that removing the street barrier may cause
a serious security gap. Accordingly, the Transport Centre ruled in
2006 that the street would remain closed.
One resident filed a lawsuit before the Administrative Court,
seeking to cancel the Transport Centre's street closure
decision. The Administrative Court accepted the residents'
case, but this decision was later reversed by the Council of
The resident subsequently filed an individual application to the
Constitutional Court, claiming the Transport Centre violated its
constitutional ownership right (Article 35) due to reduction in
rental rates which resulted from the street closure.
The Constitutional Court upheld the resident's claim,
sending the matter back to the Administrative Court for
reconsideration. The court noted:
Revenue loss occurred in this case
due to the decreased rental rates, causing a financial burden on
the applicant. The Constitution requires compensation, as per the
principal of proportionality.
Constitutional ownership rights must
be protected during legal interventions by providing certain
opportunities to balance ownership benefits. Such protection comes
as compensation to the owner, depending on case's
Linking compensation to fault would
undermine the principle of proportionality.
The impact of the
administration's obligation to act lawfully and to the
public's benefit must not be carried by only one person, or a
small group. Rather, an individual's damages should be
compensated, even if the administration was not negligent.
To ensure proportionality of an
intervention to ownership rights, a reasonable balance must be
The applicant's ownership
The full text of the Constitutional Court's reasoned
decision (numbered 2014/1546 and dated 2 February 2017) can be
found at this link (only available in Turkish).
Information first published in the MA | Gazette, a fortnightly legal
update newsletter produced by Moroğlu Arseven.
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