Application No. 23654/94
                    by Mehmet LAÇiN
                    against Turkey

     The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on
15 May 1995, the following members being present:

          MM.  C.A. NØRGAARD, President
               H. DANELIUS
               C.L. ROZAKIS
               E. BUSUTTIL
               G. JÖRUNDSSON
               S. TRECHSEL
               A.S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
               A. WEITZEL
               J.-C. SOYER
               H.G. SCHERMERS
          Mrs. G.H. THUNE
          Mr.  F. MARTINEZ
          Mrs. J. LIDDY
          MM.  L. LOUCAIDES
               J.-C. GEUS
               M.P. PELLONPÄÄ
               B. MARXER
               G.B. REFFI
               M.A. NOWICKI
               I. CABRAL BARRETO
               N. BRATZA
               I. BÉKÉS
               J. MUCHA
               E. KONSTANTINOV
               D. SVÁBY
               G. RESS
               A. PERENIC
               C. BÎRSAN

          Mr.  H.C. KRÜGER, Secretary to the Commission

     Having regard to Article 25 of the Convention for the Protection
of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

     Having regard to the application introduced on 1 March 1995 by
Mehmet LAÇiN against Turkey and registered on 10 March 1994 under file
No. 23654/94;

     Having regard to :

-    the reports provided for in Rule 47 of the Rules of Procedure of
     the Commission;

-    the observations submitted by the respondent Government on
     5 December 1994 and 25 January 1995 and the observations in reply
     submitted by the applicant on 13 March 1995;

     Having deliberated;

     Decides as follows:


     The applicant, a Turkish citizen of Kurdish origin, born in 1960,
resides at the Yolalti village in Diyarbakir province. He is
represented before the Commission by Professor Kevin Boyle and Ms.
Françoise Hampson, both university teachers at the University of Essex.

     The facts of the present case, which are in dispute between the
parties, may be summarised as follows.

     The applicant states that the following occurred.

     The applicant first refers to two previous applications (No.
22280/93, Demir v. Turkey, and No. 22281/93 Yasar v. Turkey, both
communicated to the Turkish Government on 11 October 1993, the latter
was declared admissible on 3 April 1995), and to an application lodged
at the same time as the present one (No. 23655/94, Çelik v. Turkey).
All these applications concern complaints arising from substantially
the same incidents as in the present case. The applicant further states
that he brings the application in his own name and in that of his
brother Ibrahim Laçin.

     The applicant and his brother were both resident at the village
of Tepecik, in the Kocaköy district of Diyarbakir province. On or about
19 December 1992, following the death of a "village protector" during
a clash between fighters of the PKK (Kurdish Workers' Party - an armed
separatist movement) and "village protectors", a force composed of
regular soldiers and "village protectors" from the Kirmatas and
Mesebaglari villages entered Tepecik and started firing weapons
indiscriminately, seeking to avenge the dead "protector". The firing
continued for a period of between one and two hours. During that time
several persons were killed or wounded and property was destroyed.

     In the early hours of the morning of 22 December 1992 the
"protectors" and the soldiers who were with them said, "Evacuate the
village: we are going to burn the village." All the villagers,
including the applicant, left Tepecik and, carrying their children on
their backs, walked to neighbouring villages.

     Four persons who had remained in the village were injured. Forty
of the seventy houses in the village were set alight and demolished.
The house of the applicant's brother, Ibrahim Laçin, was burnt down.
In addition, the applicant's own property, namely 20 sheep, 1.5 tons
of tobacco, 2 tons of lentils, 2 tons of wheat, and everything in the
homes of the applicant and the other villagers were destroyed. Because
the applicant and his fellow villagers have been unable to return to
the village, some 3,500 poplar trees, 100 walnut trees, 40 plum trees
and the vineyard (5 dunums in extent) will have dried up.

     By letter dated 20 May 1993 the applicant applied to the Chief
Public Prosecutor of Diyarbakir, requesting that a solution be found
by the State for the matters referred to above, that proceedings be
commenced against those responsible, and that the applicant and the
other villagers receive proper compensation. No reply to this
application has been received.

     In this respect the applicant also submits a statement of 20 May
1993 of the Area Representative of the Diyarbakir branch of the Human
Rights Association. It says that the villagers had filed a complaint
and a written petition to the Diyarbakir State Prosecution, but that
the petition had not been processed and no inquiry had been opened. It
further states that almost all applications made to judicial and
administrative offices by those suffering damage by State forces in the
State of Emergency Area are rendered "ineffectual". It concludes that
in this situation it is meaningless to pursue domestic legal remedies.

     The respondent Government state the following.

     On 17 December 1992 a rural minibus shuttling between Tepecik and
Arkabasi was waylaid by PKK terrorists who required the passengers to
identify themselves and then shot one who was a "village protector".

     On 19 and 20 December 1992 a clash took place between security
forces and the PKK in Tepecik, following the shooting of another
"village protector" who was driving through Tepecik accompanied by
other "protectors". In the course of the clash 10 to 12 houses were
burned. The intervention of the security forces permitted the
withdrawal of the "village protectors" and at the same time the PKK
began fleeing the village and setting it alight, upon which the
inhabitants left.

     In respect of the above events the Government refer to statements
of villagers and procès-verbaux made in the course of an investigation,
from which it appears, inter alia, that Ibrahim Laçin was taken into
custody and considered a suspect in the incident during which the
second "village protector" was killed.

     The Government submit that the applicant's house was, however,
not damaged following the events on 19 and 20 December 1992, but that
he set fire to it himself in order to claim compensation for damages
from the Government at a later date.

     Following the communication of the present application to the
Government, an investigation by the Public Prosecutor of Diyarbakir
under file No. 1994/1556 has been opened. Due to the applicant's
departure from his village, it has not so far been possible to obtain
further information or evidence in respect of his complaints.


     The applicant complains, in his own name and on behalf of his
brother, of violations of Articles 3, 5, 6, 8, 13, 14 and 18 of the
Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No 1.

     As to Article 3, he complains of the collective punishment of the
applicant together with the other villagers of Tepecik and also of
discrimination on grounds of race.

     As to Article 5, he complains of various breaches of his right
to liberty and security of person by virtue of his arbitrary expulsion
from his village through a procedure not sanctioned by Article 5 para.
1 and by means not prescribed by law.

     As to Article 6, he complains of the failure to initiate
proceedings before an independent and impartial tribunal against those
responsible for the killings, injuries and destruction of property, as
a result of which he cannot bring civil proceedings arising out of
those events and he is denied effective access to a court.

     As to Article 8, he complains of a violation of his right to
respect for his family life and home by reason of his arbitrary
expulsion from his village and by reason of the destruction of his
home. Alternatively, he submits that the expulsion did not pursue a
legitimate aim for the purpose of Article 8 para. 2.

     As to Article 13, he complains of the lack of any independent
national authority before which his complaints can be brought with any
prospect of success.

     As to Article 14, he complains of an administrative practice of
discrimination on grounds of race and he refers in particular to
discrimination in the enjoyment of his rights under Articles 5, 6, 8
and 13 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, as he was
denied these rights on account of his Kurdish origin.

     As to Article 18, he submits that the destruction of his own and
the other villagers' homes and livestock, and their forced abandonment
of their village, home and livelihood were effected for purposes
incompatible with the Convention.

     As to Article 1 of the Protocol, he complains of the destruction
of his and his brother's home and property.

     As to the exhaustion of domestic remedies, the applicant states
that no remedies are effective in South-East Turkey against the acts
of the security forces. He also refers to the fact that he petitioned
the Chief Public Prosecutor without receiving a reply as well as to
arguments made in application No. 21895/93, Cagirga v. Turkey (declared
admissible on 19 October 1994).


     The application was introduced on 1 March 1994 and  registered
on 10 March 1994.

     On 9 May 1994 the Commission decided to communicate the
application to the Turkish Government, who were invited to submit their
observations on its admissibility and merits before 19 August 1994.

     On 11 October 1994 the Government requested an extension of the
time-limit for the submission of observations.

     By letter of 24 October 1994, the Commission's Secretary informed
the Government that their request of 11 October 1994, after the expiry
of the time-limit, had been refused by the President of the Commission
on the ground that more than five months had elapsed since the
application had been communicated. It was added that the application
would be considered by the Commission at its session commencing on 9
January 1995.

     Observations were submitted by the Turkish Government on
5 December 1994 and 25 January 1995. Observations in reply were
submitted on behalf of the applicant on 13 March 1995 after one
extension of the time-limit fixed for this purpose.


     The applicant complains, in his own name and on behalf of his
brother, of a military raid on their village, in the course of which
their homes and possessions were destroyed. He invokes Article 3
(Art. 3) (the prohibition on inhuman and degrading treatment), Article
5 (Art. 5) (the right to liberty and security of person), Article 6
(Art. 6) (the right of access to court), Article 8 (Art. 8) (the right
to respect for family life and the home), Article 13 (Art. 13) (the
right to effective national remedies for Convention breaches), Article
14 (Art. 14) (the prohibition on discrimination) and Article 18
(Art. 18) (the prohibition on using authorised Convention restrictions
for ulterior purposes) of the Convention, as well as Article 1 of
Protocol No. 1 (P1-1) (the right to property).

     The Government argue that, since the events complained of took
place in December 1992 and the application was introduced on 1 March
1994, the applicant has not complied with the requirement imposed by
Article 26 (Art. 26) of the Convention that an application must be
introduced within six months of the final decision taken in respect of
the complaints.

     They furthermore dispute that the applicant applied to the Chief
Public Prosecutor of Diyarbakir on 20 May 1993, but even if that was
the case, the application should have been introduced within six months
following that appeal.

     The applicant argues that he did not appeal to the Chief Public
Prosecutor until five months after the events as he assumed an
investigation had already commenced. He submits that failure to
acknowledge receipt of such communications is not uncommon in South-
East Turkey. Moreover, the suggestion from the Government that he burnt
down his own house is logically inconsistent with the allegation that
he never made a complaint. In any event, the applicant relies upon the
non-existence of domestic remedies, referring to the Commission's
findings in this respect in Application No. 22280/93, Demir v. Turkey
(Dec. 9.1.95).

     The Commission recalls in the first place that the purpose of the
six months' rule is to promote security of law and to ensure that cases
raising issues under the Convention are dealt with within a reasonable
time. Furthermore it ought also to protect the authorities and other
persons concerned from being under any uncertainty for a prolonged
period of time (cf. No. 10626/83, Dec. 7.5.85, D.R. 42 p. 205).

     The Commission notes that, in the applicant's opinion, there is
no effective domestic remedy in respect of the violations of the
Convention of which he complains. In this respect, the Commission
recalls that in other cases regarding destruction in villages in South-
East Turkey the Commission has found that applicants were not in the
circumstances of those cases required under Article 26 (Art. 26) of the
Convention to pursue domestic remedies before complaining to the
Commission (see, for instance, No. 21893/93, Akdivar and others,
Dec. 19.10.94).

     However, the Commission has repeatedly held that in the absence
of domestic remedies the six months' period runs from the act
complained of in the application (cf. No. 10530/83, Dec. 16.5.85, D.R.
42 p. 171; and No. 10389/83, Dec. 17.7.86, D.R. 47 p. 72). In the
instant case, the acts complained of took place in December 1992.

     Special considerations could apply in exceptional cases where an
applicant first avails himself of a domestic remedy and only at a later
stage becomes aware, or should have become aware, of the circumstances
which make that remedy ineffective. In such a situation, the six months
period might be calculated from the time when the applicant becomes
aware, or should have become aware, of these circumstances.

     In the present case, the applicant states that he sent a letter
of complaint to the Chief Public Prosecutor on 20 May 1993. However,
already before that date he had apparently taken steps to prepare an
application to the Commission, which appears from the fact that his
power of attorney to his representatives before the Commission is dated
already 27 March 1993. Moreover, on 20 May 1993, a lawyer in Turkey,
who assisted the applicant, stated in a written comment on the case
that it was meaningless to use domestic legal remedies in cases such
as that of the applicant.

     In view of these various elements, the Commission considers that,
assuming that there were no effective remedies in the present case, the
applicant or those representing him must be considered to have been
aware, not later than in May 1993, of this situation. The application
should therefore in any event have been introduced not later than
November 1993.

     The Commission finds, therefore, that the application has been
introduced out of time and is inadmissible under Articles 26 and 27
para. 3 (Art. 26, 27-3) of the Convention.

     For these reasons, the Commission, by a majority,


Secretary to the Commission        President of the Commission

       (H.C. KRÜGER)                      (C.A. NØRGAARD)