Turkey has ratified Protocol number 15, amending the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“Protocol”). The Protocol confirms Turkey’s appreciation of its responsibility to secure the rights and freedoms which the European Court of Human Rights (“Court”) oversees. The Protocol also changes age limits and terms for the Court’s judges, as well as reduces the Court’s application deadline to four months and changes admissibility criteria.

Turkey signed the Protocol on 31 September 2013. The Protocol was ratified via a decision published in Official Gazette number 29656 on 17 March 2016.

Significant changes introduced by the Protocol include:

  • A new provision is added to the Preamble of the European Convention of Human Rights stating that:
    • The Court has subsidiary authority for the security of the rights and freedoms stated in the Convention.
    • Contracting parties have a margin of appreciation of their responsibility to secure the rights and freedoms regarding subjects within the Court’s supervision.
  • Judge candidates must now be under 65 years old, at the date of nomination.
  • A Judge’s term will no longer expire when they reach 70 years old.
  • Parties can no longer object to the Chambers relinquishing a case to the Grand Chamber’s jurisdiction in disputes which:
    • Raise serious questions about the Convention’s interpretation.
    • May have a result inconsistent with a previous judgment.
  • The period after a final domestic decision to apply to the Court reduces from six months to four months.
  • The Court can accept applications from any party, but is required to rule applications inadmissible if the applicant has not suffered a significant disadvantage. The exceptions to this rule have changed so that the Court is no longer prohibited from rejecting an application on the basis that the matter has not been duly considered by a domestic tribunal.

Please see this link for the full text of the ratification decision (only available in Turkish), as well as full texts of the Protocol (in Turkish, English and French).

Information first published in the MA | Gazette, a fortnightly legal update newsletter produced by Moroğlu Arseven.