In an unprecedented decision, Turkey’s Constitutional Court overturned the revocation of a certificate of inheritance by Istanbul-born Greek citizen Ionis Maditinos.

Mr Maditinos lost his Turkish citizenship when he acquired Greek citizenship in 1986, without applying for permission from Turkish authorities according to Article 25 of the Turkish citizenship law.

When Mr Maditinos became the sole heir in his family, he requested a certificate of inheritance from a court in Istanbul in 1996 but though the court recognised his claim, the Turkish state Treasury moved to nullify the certificate on the grounds that he was no longer a Turkish citizen. His citizenship status resulted in the revocation of his certificate of inheritance and when Maditinos appealed this decision, his claim was dismissed because he had voluntarily switched citizenships.

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Following the loss of the law suit, Mr Maditinos took the claim to Turkey’s highest court in 2015. The top court ruled for a retrial as, according to the law, his right to property had been violated. The Treasury was also ordered to pay Mr Maditinos’ legal fees.

“It is understood that the revocation of certificate of inheritance was not presented with reasonable and sufficient justification, even though there is no tacit finding that stipulates the incapability of Turkish citizens in Greece to acquire property, in terms of reciprocity principle,” the top court’s ruling stated, pointing to Article 35 of the Turkish Constitution which stipulates that the right of property can only be restricted as part of public interest.

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