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Association for Solidarity with Jehovah’s Witnesses and others v. Turkey, Nos. 36915/10, 8606/13, ECtHR (Second Section), 24 May 2016

Type Judgment
Case number 36915/10


Denial of the concession of an area in order to build a worship facility. Breach of Article 9 ECHR.

Normative references

Art. 6 ECHR
Art. 9 ECHR
Art. 11 ECHR
Art. 13 ECHR
Art. 14 ECHR


1. Freedom of religion, within the meaning of Convention in no way implies that religious groups or followers of a religion must be granted a specific legal status or a tax status different from that of other existing entities.
2. In order to delimit the extent and the limits of the margin of appreciation granted to the contracting States, the Court must take into account the need to maintain genuine religious pluralism, inherent in the concept of a democratic society.
3. In a matter as complex and difficult as urban planning, the contracting States enjoy a wide margin of appreciation. However, the Court cannot relinquish its power of control. In particular, it has to verify that a reasonable balance has been struck with the applicants' right to freedom to manifest their religion within the meaning of Article 9 of the Convention.
(The judgement is introduced by two religious communities belonging to the denomination of Jehovah's Witnesses. The Court observes that the national courts did not take into account the specific needs expressed by the applicants and used the legislative provisions to impose prohibitive conditions on the exercise of the worship of minority groups)