Turkey became a party to the European Convention on Human Rights in 1954, recognized the right to individual application to the European Court of Human Rights in 1987 and the compulsory jurisdiction of this Court in 1990. With the constitutional amendment in 2004, the international agreements on fundamental rights and freedoms to which Turkey is a party to, especially the European Convention on Human Rights, were attributed a greater significance than that of domestic laws. The most recent development regarding the amendments referring to “universal standards” of fundamental rights is the introduction of individual application to the Constitutional Court with the constitutional amendment in 2010.
With the actual implementation of the individual application beginning from 23 September 2012, the constitutional jurisdiction review has been implemented against the infringements of rights caused by persons or institutions exerting public authority. Accordingly, as of 23 September 2012, every person may apply to the Constitutional Court alleging that the public power has violated any one of his/her fundamental rights and freedoms secured under the Constitution which falls into the scope of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Who May Apply?
As a rule, “everyone” may file an individual application before the Constitutional Court. However, the expression of “everyone” has some restrictions arising from the features of individual application. In this framework, foreigners are not eligible to file an individual application in relation to the rights that are only granted to Turkish citizens. On the other hand, foreigners may file individual application on rights granted in a restricted manner (right to assembly and demonstration march, freedom of settlement and movement etc.) only within the limits recognized by law.
Private legal persons (associations, foundations, commercial partnerships etc.) may file individual application on the grounds that the rights granted only for legal persons such as freedom of association or right to legal remedies were violated. Public legal persons are not entitled to the right to individual application. Therefore, applications filed by public legal persons are found inadmissible on the grounds of “incompetence ratione personae”.