Socialist Party and Others v Turkey, 25 May 1998 [ECtHR]

Case no 21237/93

51. The Court observes that the interference in question was radical: the SP was dissolved with immediate and permanent effect, its assets were liquidated and transferred ipso jure to the Treasury and its leaders – who admittedly did not include Mr Perinçek when the party was dissolved (see paragraph 14 above) – were banned from carrying on certain similar political activities. Measures as severe as those may only be applied in the most serious cases.

52. The Court has already noted that Mr Perinçek’s statements, though critical and full of demands, did not appear to it to call into question the need for compliance with democratic principles and rules.
The Court is prepared to take into account the background of cases before it, in particular the difficulties associated with the prevention of terrorism (see, among other authorities, the United Communist Party of Turkey and Others judgment cited above, p. 27, § 59). In the present case, however, it has not been established how, in spite of the fact that in making them their author declared attachment to democracy and expressed rejection of violence, the statements in issue could be considered to have been in any way responsible for the problems which terrorism poses in Turkey.

53. In view of the findings referred to above, there is no need either to bring Article 17 into play, as nothing in the statements warrants the conclusion that their author relied on the Convention to engage in activity or perform acts aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth in it (see, mutatis mutandis, the United Communist Party of Turkey and Others judgment cited above, p. 27, § 60).

54. In conclusion, the dissolution of the SP was disproportionate to the aim pursued and consequently unnecessary in a democratic society. It follows that there has been a violation of Article 11 of the Convention.

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