The applicant, Cumhuriyetçi Eǧitim ve Kültür Merkezi Vakfı or CEM Vakfi (the Foundation for Republican Education and Culture), is a foundation set up under Turkish law in 1995. The case concerns the possibility under Turkish law for places of worship to be granted an exemption from paying electricity bills and the refusal to grant this privilege to the applicant foundation.
Relying in particular on Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken together with Article 9 (right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion), the applicant foundation complained that, although the electricity bills for places of worship were usually paid by the Directorate of Religious Affairs, it had been deprived of this privilege on account of the failure to recognise the cemevis as places of worship in Turkey.
In its principal judgment of 2 December 2014, the Court held that there had been a violation of Article 14 taken together with Article 9, in that the system for granting exemptions from payment of electricity bills for places of worship under Turkish law entailed discrimination on the ground of religion. It further held that the question of the application of Article 41 (just satisfaction) was not ready for decision and reserved this question for examination at a later date. The Court will rule on this matter in its judgment of 20 June 2017.
Press release ECHR 190 (2017) 16/06/2016