Judgment (Merits and Just Satisfaction) of Court (Second Section), December 02, 2014 (case CASE OF EMEL BOYRAZ v. TURKEY)

Judge:SOLAK I.
Resolution Date:December 02, 2014
Issuing Organization:Court (Second Section)
SUMMARY

Violation of Article 14+8 - Prohibition of discrimination (Article 14 - Discrimination) (Article 8 - Right to respect for private and family life ; Article 8-1 - Respect for private life) ; Violation of Article 6 - Right to a fair trial (Article 6 - Administrative proceedings ; Article 6-1 - Reasonable time) ; No violation of Article 6 - Right to a fair trial (Article 6 - Administrative... (see full summary)

 
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  SECOND SECTION       CASE OF EMEL BOYRAZ v. TURKEY (Application no. 61960/08)     JUDGMENT       STRASBOURG  2 December 2014       This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.In the case of Emel Boyraz v. Turkey,The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:              Guido Raimondi, President,
              Işıl Karakaş,
              András Sajó,
              Nebojša Vučinić,
              Egidijus Kūris,
              Robert Spano,
              Jon Fridrik Kjølbro, judges,
and Abel Campos, Deputy Section Registrar,Having deliberated in private on 4 November 2014,Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

PROCEDURE

1. The case originated in an application (no. 61960/08) against the Republic of Turkey lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Turkish national, Ms Emel Boyraz (“the applicant”), on 1 December 2008.

2. The applicant was represented by Mr İ. Solak, a lawyer practising in Batman. The Turkish Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent.

3. On 1 March 2010 notice of the application was given to the Government.

THE FACTS

I.  THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE

4. The applicant was born in 1975 and lives in Elazığ.

5. On 19 October 1999 the applicant sat an examination in order to become a public servant. She was successful in the examination and on an unspecified date she was informed by the State Personnel Department attached to the Prime Minister’s office that she had been appointed to the post of security officer in the Batman branch of TEDAŞ, the state-run Electricity Company, the first of the five choices that the applicant had made in the course of the examination procedure.

6. On 5 July 2000 the human resources department of the Batman branch of TEDAŞ informed the applicant that she would not be appointed as she did not fulfil the requirements of “being a man” and “having completed military service”.

7. In a letter dated 9 August 2000 and addressed to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, the human resources department of TEDAŞ requested the Ministry to provide a list of new persons to be appointed instead of a number of persons, including the applicant, who could not be recruited for various reasons. As regards the applicant and three other persons, B.U., R.B. and A.O.C., the human resources department of TEDAŞ informed the Ministry that they were women and therefore could not work as security officers. In the letter, it was stated that security officers had the task of protecting depots, switchyards and transformer stations in rural areas far from city centres, against attacks and in case of fire and sabotage. They were obliged to work day and night and to use weapons, including those with long barrels, and physical force in case of an attack. It was therefore considered that women were not suitable for the post of security officer.

8. On 18 September 2000 the applicant lodged an action against the general directorate of TEDAŞ with the Ankara Administrative Court requesting the annulment of the decision of the Batman branch of TEDAŞ with all its financial consequences. In her deposition, the applicant noted that being a man was not a requirement for appointment to the post in question and that she fulfilled all the requirements for that post. The applicant also noted that she had been deprived of the opportunity to be appointed to one of the other four posts that she had indicated following the refusal in question and that she could not sit the examination again in 2000 as she had succeeded in 1999.

9. On an unspecified date the general directorate of TEDAŞ submitted to the administrative court that one of the requirements for the post in question had been declared by the State Personnel Department as “having completed military service” and that therefore only men could be appointed to the post. The applicant, being a woman, could therefore not be recruited as a security officer.

10. On 27 February 2001 the Ankara Administrative Court annulled the decision of the Batman branch of TEDAŞ. The court held that the requirement of “having completed military service” should be considered to apply only to male candidates and that there had been no restriction on women working as security officers in TEDAŞ. The court also noted that another woman, Y.P., who had also brought a case against TEDAŞ for the same reasons as the applicant, had been appointed to the post of security officer after she had lodged the case.

11. Subsequent to the judgment of 27 February 2001, the applicant was offered a contract by the Batman branch of TEDAŞ. On 11 July 2001 she took up her duties. On 1 March 2002 she was transferred to the Elazığ branch of TEDAŞ as her husband lived and worked in that city.

12. On 8 May 2001 TEDAŞ lodged an appeal against the judgment of 27 February 2001, requesting the Supreme Administrative Court to order a stay of execution of the judgment of the Ankara Administrative Court and to subsequently quash it. The representative of TEDAŞ submitted, inter alia, that the announcement of the post of security officers in the Batman branch contained the requirement of “having completed military service” and not “in respect of male candidates, having completed military service”, unlike the post in the Gaziantep branch of TEDAŞ, which first rejected Y.P. According to the lawyer, this expression demonstrated that the post was reserved for male candidates only and that therefore the status of the applicant was different from that of Y.P.

13. On 27 June 2001 the Supreme Administrative Court dismissed the request for a stay of execution.

14. On 31 March 2003 the Twelfth Division of the Supreme Administrative Court quashed the judgment of the Ankara Administrative Court, holding that the requirement regarding military service demonstrated that the post in question was reserved for male candidates and that this requirement was lawful having regard to the nature of the post and the public interest. The high court therefore found that the administration’s decision had been in accordance with the law.

15. On 1 August 2003 the applicant requested rectification of the decision of 31 March 2003. In her petition, she submitted that the post of security officer was not reserved for male candidates and that therefore the high court’s decision was in breach of the principle of equality.

16. On 17 March 2004 the applicant was dismissed from her post at the Elazığ branch of TEDAŞ. According to the letter sent by the deputy head of the human resources department of TEDAŞ to the Elazığ branch, the applicant’s contract was to be terminated on account of the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court dated 31 March 2003.

17. On 22 March 2004 the applicant lodged a petition with the Supreme Administrative Court. She maintained that she had lost her post and requested the high court to order a stay of execution of the decision of 31 March 2003. She noted, in her petition, that the post in question should not be reserved only for men, since certain acts, such as a body search on women, should be carried out by female officers.

18. On 16 April 2004 her request was dismissed by the Twelfth Division.

19. On 11 October 2005 the Twelfth Division of the Supreme Administrative Court further dismissed the applicant’s request for rectification.

20. On 21 February 2006 the Ankara Administrative Court dismissed the applicant’s case, taking into consideration the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court.

21. On 24 April 2006 the applicant appealed. In her deposition she noted that there were three other similar cases brought against TEDAŞ by female candidates for the same reasons as hers and that one of these cases, brought by R.B., who had also not been appointed to a post of security officer in the Batman branch of TEDAŞ on the same grounds as those applied to the applicant, was pending before the Supreme Administrative Court’s General Assembly of Administrative Proceedings Divisions. She further noted that she would have lost the opportunity to apply for another public post, had the high court decided in favour of TEDAŞ.

22. On 6 December 2007 the Supreme Administrative Court’s General Assembly of Administrative Proceedings Divisions (Danıştay İdari Dava Daireleri Genel Kurulu) issued a decision in favour of R.B. The General Assembly held that the requirement of “having completed military service” should be considered to apply only to male candidates and that the refusal to appoint R.B. to the Batman branch of TEDAŞ had therefore been unlawful.

23. On 12 February 2008 the Twelfth Division of the Supreme Administrative Court upheld the judgment of 21 February 2006, holding that the latter was in accordance with the law. In its decision, the court noted the content of the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court’s General Assembly of Administrative Proceedings Divisions but did not comment on it.

24. On 17 March 2008 the applicant requested rectification of the decision of 12 February 2008, maintaining that the decision in question constituted a breach of the principle of equality and the right to a fair hearing since the Supreme Administrative Court’s General Assembly of Administrative Proceedings Divisions had ruled in favour of R.B. She further claimed that there had been discrimination, since pursuant to the Constitution no distinction could be made in public employment.

25. On 17 September 2008 the Twelfth Division of the Supreme Administrative Court dismissed the applicant’s request.

II.  RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND INTERNATIONAL MATERIAL

A.  The Constitution

26. The relevant provisions of the Constitution of Turkey, as in force at the material time, read as follows:Article 10 - Equality before the law“Everyone is equal before the law...

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