|Displaced Villagers Obtain Justice: ECHR Condemns Turkey for Village Destruction|
The European Court of Human Rights has today ruled that Turkish security forces deliberately destroyed a man's house and possessions, thus forcing his family to leave the village, in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (Yöyler v. Turkey).
TThe applicant, Celatettin Yoyler, was the imam (religious leader) of Dirimpinar, attached to the Malazgirt district in the province of Mus. Gendarmes raided his village and burned down his house on 18 September 1994, prompting Mr Yoyler to leave the village with his wife and children. The house and possessions of a further six villagers around him were also destroyed.
Over 3 million people were forced from their homes and over 3,500 settlements destroyed during a campaign by Turkish security forces that peaked in severity in the mid-1990s. The ECHR has condemned the practice in a series of cases brought on behalf of displaced villagers by KHRP.
The Court noted that his home had been burned down in front of members of his family, depriving them of shelter and support and obliging them to leave their home and family friends. This was held to have constituted a violation of the prohibition on inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3).
The Court also held that there was no doubt that the acts also constituted grave and unjustified interference with the applicant's rights to respect for his private and family life and home, and to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions, in violation of Article 8 and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 of the Convention.
The Court concluded that the authorities had failed to conduct a thorough and effective investigation into the applicant's allegations. Furthermore, access to any other available remedy, including a claim for compensation, had also been denied to him, in violation of the right to an effective remedy (Article 13).
KHRP will continue to monitor the case to ensure that the Turkish Government complies with the Court's ruling.