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Application no. 956/02
by Mehmet Salih GÜL and Others
against Turkey

The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting on 5 December 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

Mr J.-P. Costa, President,
Mr A.B. Baka,
Mr R. Türmen,
Mr M. Ugrekhelidze,
Mrs E. Fura-Sandström,
Ms D. Jočienė,
Mr D. Popović, judges,
and Mr S. Naismith, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 5 November 2001,

Having regard to the decision to apply Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and examine the admissibility and merits of the case together,

Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicants,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:


The applicants, Mr Mehmet Salih Gül, Mr Mehmet Salih Gül, Mr Veysi Gül, Mr Mustafa Gül, Ms Reyhan Gül, Ms Zübeyde Gül, Mr Nuri Gül, Mr Şehmus Gül, Mr Reşat Gül, Mr Ahmet Gül, Mr Osman Gül, Mr A. Kerim Gül, Mrs Şevkiye Orhan, Mr Mehmet Ali Gül, Ms Zehra Gül, Mr Derviş Gül, and Ms Fatma Gül, are Turkish nationals and live in Diyarbakır. They were represented before the Court by Ms P. Gül, a lawyer practising in Adana.

A. The circumstances of the case

The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.

On an unspecified date in 1953, the authorities conducted a land registry survey in Bismil, during which the land allegedly belonging to the applicants' ancestors was registered in the land registry in the name of other individuals and the Treasury.

Following this, Aziz Gül, the father and uncle to several of the applicants, brought actions to intervene in the proceedings before the Bismil Cadastral Court, claiming that the land in fact belonged to his mother. The information in the relevant files can be summarised as follows.

1. Information in file no. 1953/847

On 10 April 1953, Aziz Gül brought an action against E.Ö. and the Treasury, contesting the result of the cadastral survey and claiming that the plot of land no. 16 belonged to him.

On 13 April 1957 the Bismil Cadastral Court dismissed the claims of Aziz Gül and ordered that the contested land be registered in the name of E.Ö.

Aziz Gül did not appeal against this judgment. However, the Treasury appealed. The Court of Cassation quashed the judgment and remitted the case to the Bismil Cadastral Court. The latter delivered its second judgment on 6 August 1963, confirming the first.

The applicants were not party to these proceedings.

2. Information in file no. 1953/866

On 14 April 1958 the Bismil Cadastral Court rendered a judgment, which became final 26 June 1959. Aziz Gül was not a party to these proceedings.

3. Information in case file no. 1953/855

On 25 March 1953, Aziz Gül brought another action before the Bismil Cadastral Court, contesting the cadastral record of a plot of land, no. 67, along with other plaintiffs.

He failed to attend the hearings held after 14 May 1957, or to submit his witness list, despite the court's request.

None of the applicants pursued the case as the heirs of Aziz Gül.

On 15 April 2004 the court delivered its judgment and dismissed Aziz Gül's claims. On 5 September 2005, Aziz Gül's grandson, Miktad Gül (not an applicant in the present case), was notified of this judgment.


The applicants complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention of the excessive length of the proceedings before the Bismil Cadastral Court.

They further alleged that they had been deprived of their right to the peaceful enjoyment of their possession, in breach of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.


The Government first asked the Court to dismiss the application on the ground that the applicants could not be considered to be victims of a violation of the Convention within the meaning of Article 34. In this connection, they maintained that none of the applicants had been a party to any of the domestic proceedings concerning the disputed properties; nor had they pursued the cases after the death of Aziz Gül. The Government also drew the Court's attention to the fact that it was not the deceased Aziz Gül who had lodged the application to the Court during his life time.

Secondly, they maintained that certain of the applicants' complaints should be rejected as being incompatible ratione temporis with the provisions of the Convention.

The Court first reiterates that it can only consider complaints relating to facts occurring after 22 January 1987, the date on which Turkey recognised the competence of the Convention organs to examine individual applications (see Cankoçak v. Turkey, nos. 25182/94 and 26956/95, § 25, 20 February 2001).

In this connection, it observes that the first two proceedings were concluded in 1959 and 1963. Accordingly, this part of the application is incompatible ratione temporis with the provisions of the Convention, within the meaning of Article 35 § 3, and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 § 4.

As regards the third proceedings, the Court observes that they began in 1953 and ended in 2005. Thus, there is a period of over 18 years which fell within the competence of the Court.

As to the length of the proceedings complaint under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, the Court notes that the present case had not been introduced by Aziz Gül. Therefore, the applicants cannot be regarded as pursuing an application lodged by their relative, subsequent to his death. The Court has also previously held that relatives of a deceased person could not be considered as victims for complaints concerning the length of proceedings (see, among others, Georgia Makri and Others v. Greece (dec.), no. 5977/03, 24 March 2005).

As a result, the applicants in this case do not have the requisite standing under Article 34 of the Convention for their complaint under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention. This part of the application must therefore be rejected as incompatible ratione personae with the provisions of the Convention in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4.

As far as Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 is concerned, the Court notes that, even assuming that the applicants may be regarded as victims within the meaning of Article 34 of the Convention, by virtue of a possible inherited property claim, they did not at any stage of the proceedings intervene in the cases which were pending before the Bismil Cadastral Court as the heirs of Aziz Gül.

It follows that this part of the application must be rejected for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies, pursuant to Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention.

Consequently, the Court decides to discontinue with the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and to declare the application inadmissible.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Declares the application inadmissible.

S. Naismith J.-P. Costa
Deputy Registrar President