Application no. 50948/99
by Jale MUSLUOĞLU and Others
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 9 March 2006 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. Rozakis, President,
Mr R. Türmen,
Mrs F. Tulkens,
Mr P. Lorenzen,
Mrs N. Vajić,
Mr D. Spielmann,
Mr S.E. Jebens, judges,
and S. Quesada, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 20 July 1999,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicants, Ms Jale Musluoğlu, Mr Hüseyin Üçpınar, Mr Enver Kemal Üçpınar, Ms Makbule Tireli, Mr Sabih Üçpınar and Mr Enver Öztürk, are Turkish nationals. They are represented before the Court by Ms H. Üçpınar, a lawyer practising in Izmir. Mr Enver Kemal Üçpınar died in April 2000.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicants, may be summarised as follows.
The applicants are the owners of a plot of land of 330,000 square metres (plot no. 1416), in the district of Milas, in Muğla.
On 14 October 1978 the land was officially designated as a first degree conservation area (birinci derece sit alanı) by the High Committee of Ancient Buildings and Monuments attached to the Ministry of Culture, following the discovery of the ruins of an ancient city, Bargylia, in the region. Subsequently, construction of buildings in this area was prohibited. The Committee relied on the Law on Ancient Buildings (Law no. 1710).
On 24 June 1987 and 8 February 1990 Law no. 3386 and Regulations no. 20427 came into force respectively. According to the Law and the Regulations, lands designated as conservation areas could be bartered with land that belonged to the Treasury.
On 17 July 1987 Jale Musluoğlu, Hüseyin Üçpınar, Enver Kemal Üçpınar, Makbule Tireli and Sabih Üçpınar applied to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and requested that their land be bartered with two plots of land in Muğla which belonged to the Treasury.
On 2 May 1988 their request was dismissed as one of the plots that the applicants requested was unavailable for the exchange.
In 1990, 1993, 1995 and 1997 Jale Musluoğlu filed several petitions with the Ministry, on behalf of the owners of plot no. 1416 and requested that their land be bartered with land belonging to the Treasury. No action was taken by the authorities until 1997.
On 11 November 1997 the applicants concluded an agreement with the authorities and plot no. 1416 was bartered with several plots of land owned by the Treasury. However, the agreement was not approved by the Minister of Finance.
On 10 July 1998 Jale Musluoğlu filed a petition with the Ministry of Finance and requested that the agreement of 11 November 1997 be referred to the Minister and be approved.
She received no reply to her petition.
On 3 November 1998 the applicants filed a case with the Ankara Administrative Court. They alleged that the failure of the Ministry to approve the agreement of 11 November 1997 meant disapproval and requested the annulment of the decision of disapproval.
On an unspecified date, the Ankara Administrative Court issued a decision of lack of territorial jurisdiction and sent the case-file to the Aydın Administrative Court as there was not an administrative court in Muğla at the time.
On 27 September 2000 the Aydın Administrative Court dismissed the applicants’ case. The court noted that according to the Regulations no. 20427 the plots belonging to the Treasury which were to be bartered should be located within the borders of the same district as the individuals’ plots. It further noted that three plots of land which were to be bartered with the applicants’ land were located in another district of the Muğla province and, therefore, considered that the Ministry’s decision not to approve the agreement had been lawful.
On 25 April 2002 the Supreme Administrative Court quashed the judgment of the first-instance court. It noted that the Regulations no. 20427 had been amended on 19 February 1992 and that according to the amended text, the plots belonging to the Treasury which were to be bartered should be located within the borders of the same province.
On an unspecified date, the case-file was sent to the Muğla Administrative Court since in the meantime, an administrative court was established in this province.
On 18 July 2003 the Muğla Administrative Court abided by the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court and held that the decision of the Ministry had been unlawful.
On an unspecified date, the Ministry of Finance appealed against the judgment of 18 July 2003.
The proceedings are still pending before the Supreme Administrative Court.
The applicants complain under Article 1 of Protocol no. 1 of the Convention that the administration took the actual possession of their land without paying compensation and that the legislation concerning the protection of conservation areas was disproportionate to the aim pursued, thus constituting an unjustified interference with their right to property.
The applicants complain, without invoking any Article of the Convention, that the length of the proceedings before the administrative courts amounted to a breach of the “reasonable time” requirement.
A. As regards the applicant Enver Kemal Üçpınar
The Court notes that Mr Enver Kemal Üçpınar died in April 2000 and that no request has been submitted by that applicant’s heirs to pursue the examination of the case. The Court therefore concludes that it is no longer justified to continue the examination of the application brought by Mr Enver Kemal Üçpınar within the meaning of Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention. Furthermore, the Court finds no reasons of a general character, as defined in Article 37 § 1 in fine, which would require the examination of this part of the application by virtue of that Article. It therefore decides to strike the application in respect of Mr Enver Kemal Üçpınar out of its list of cases.
B. As regards the applicants Jale Musluoğlu, Hüseyin Üçpınar, Makbule Tireli, Sabih Üçpınar and Enver Öztürk
The Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the case file, determine the admissibility of the application in respect of Jale Musluoğlu, Hüseyin Üçpınar, Makbule Tireli, Sabih Üçpınar and Enver Öztürk and that it is therefore necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 2 (b) of the Rules of Court, to give notice of this part of the application to the respondent Government.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to adjourn the examination of the complaints brought by the applicants Jale Musluoğlu, Hüseyin Üçpınar, Makbule Tireli, Sabih Üçpınar and Enver Öztürk;
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases in respect of the applicant Enver Kemal Üçpınar.
Santiago Quesada Christos Rozakis
Deputy Registrar President
MUSLUOĞLU AND OTHERS v. TURKEY DECISION
MUSLUOĞLU AND OTHERS v. TURKEY DECISION