Campaigns: Support Turkish objectors

International support for Turkish COs continues to be very important. This page contains links to CO testimony and to recent WRI alerts and reports on the situation of conscientious objectors in Turkey.


WRI Statements

09 Feb 2011
English

War Resisters' International (WRI), an international network of pacifist and antimilitarist organisations with more than 90 affiliates in more than 40 countries, condemns the persecution of Turkish antimilitarist and feminist Pinar Selek. For 12 years now, Pinar Selek has been under prosecution for a crime she did not commit and in connection with which there is no evidence against her - the so-called bombing of the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul on 09 July 1998. Pinar Selek was arrested in 1998, tortured during investigation and spent two and a half years in prison.

02 Jul 2005
English

The council meeting of War Resisters' International in Seoul, Korea 30 June - 2 July 2005 demands the immediate release of conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan and the full recognition of his right to consceintious objection. Mehmet Tarhan is a well known activist on issues of antimilitarism and gay rights in Turkey. He was arrested on April 8th, 2005, on the grounds he was a "roll call deserter".

CO Alerts

01 Apr 2010
English

War Resisters' International learned today that Turkish conscientious objector Enver Aydemir has been sentenced to ten months imprisonment by an Eskişehir court on Tuesday, on charges of desertion.

Enver Aydemir refuses military service based on his religious beliefs as a Muslim. He refuses to be part of a secularist military.

30 Dec 2009
English

War Resisters' International received some new information on conscientious objector Enver Aydemir, who had been arrested on 24 December 2009 in Istanbul (see co-alert, 29 December 2009).

According to the information received, Enver Aydemir has now been transferred to Eskisehir Military Prison, where he is wearing a prison uniform, and ended his hunger strike.

29 Dec 2009
English

Turkish conscientious objector Enver Aydemir was detained on 24 December on his way to a conference on conscientious objection during a random electronic background check by police at the ferry port in Kabataş, Istanbul. An arrest warrant for insubordination and possibly desertion, going back to his earlier arrest in detention in 2007, was discovered, and Enver Aydemir was transferred to Doğancılar police station and then to a military police station.

16 Jun 2008
English

Turkish conscientious objector Mehmet Bal, who was arrested by plain clothes police on 8 June 2008, has been severely beaten in prison. According to reports from his lawyers, who visited him 11 June in prison, during Mehmet Bal's first day at Hasdal Military prison a senior officer took him into a prison ward and ordered other prisoners to "do what is necessary to remind him of prison rules". Five or six prisoners beat his face and body with a plank of wood.

10 Jun 2008
English
Mehmet BalMehmet Bal

Turkish conscientious objector Mehmet Bal was arrested by plain clothes police on 8 June 2008. He was taking a walk with a friend in his neighbourhood when he was approached by plain clothes police, who asked to see his ID. Without checking via radio or phone they immediately said there was an arrest warrant out for him, and they would take him to the police station.

Other posts

11 Jun 2010
English

Conscientious objector Aydemir was relaeased upon an "incapability report". His lawyer criticized that the legislation lacks provisions on conscientious objection. Turkey is one of three countries of the European Council that does not recognize the right to conscientious objection.

Istanbul - BİA News Center
11 June 2010, Friday

09 Apr 2010
English

Turkey has recently increased the pressure on conscientious objectors. As reported in a co-alert on 1 April, conscientious objector Enver Aydemir has been sentenced to ten months imprisonment on 30 March, on charges of desertion.

17 Feb 2010
English

The Eskişehir Military Court imposed a one-month disciplinary punishment on Turkish conscientious objector Enver Aydemir because of his refusal to wear prison clothes and disobeying of orders, Bianet reported on 11 February 2010. For one month Enver Aydemir is not allowed to see anybody else but his lawyer.

20 Nov 2009
English

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/soldiers-convicted-ill-t...

19 November 2009
Amnesty International has welcomed the conviction of three Turkish soldiers for “intentionally wounding” a conscientious objector while he was in military custody.

A military court in Istanbul sentenced the soldiers to three months and 10 days' imprisonment on 13 November for the “intentional wounding” of Mehmet Bal in June 2008.

Mehmet Bal was arrested for evading military service on 8 June and detained at Hasdal Military Prison in Istanbul.

30 Oct 2009
English

Action in IstanbulAction in IstanbulOn 30 October a group of Turkish antimilitarists gathered at the front door of the Israeli Consulate of Istanbul and declared their support for two Israeli conscientious objectors, Efi Brenner and Or Ben-David, who had been arrested last week for objecting to the war politics of the Israeli governments against the Palestinian people.

06 Oct 2009
English

According to an article in Today's Zaman, some legal amendments are planned in Turkey to address the issue of conscientious objection, following the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Osman Murat Ülke in January 2006. However, these amendments are far from recognising the right to conscientious objection.

01 Jun 2009
English

Edited by Özgür Heval Çınar and Coşkun Üsterci, Zed Books, 9 April 2009, ISBN: 978-1-84813-278-8 (pb). £19.99

20 Aug 2008
English

Bianet reported on 20 August that the Istanbul’s Office of the Hasdal Military Prosecutor decided there was no need for trial regarding the complaint made by conscientious objector Mehmet Bal about the bad treatment and torture he was subjected to in the military prison.

15 Aug 2008
English

Mehmet Ali AvcıMehmet Ali AvcıTwenty-three year old Mehmet Ali Avcı announced his conscientious objection on 15 August 2008 at the Istanbul Branch of the Human Rights Association (İHD), reported Bianet on 15 August 2008. He is supported by İHD members and Ümit Şahin from the Turkish Green Party.

08 Aug 2008
English

Now any detention of conscientious objectors seen as arbitrary detention

One more in the series of legal victories for conscientious objectors in Turkey: The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention dealt with the case of imprisoned Turkish conscientious objector Halil Savdain its session on 9 May 2008, and came to the conclusion that "the deprivation of liber

Forum posts

14 Aug 2012

Criticized in the previous years for asking gays to bring photos of them taken during sexual intercourse in order for them to receive a so-called “rotten” (unfit) report that would exempt them from mandatory military service, Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) now gave up on this method and found a derivative of it.

01 Aug 2012

Turkey’s first conscientious objector to mandatory military service passed away at the age of 54 due to a heart attack on Monday night. A doctor by training, Tayfun Gönül had made critical contributions to the antimilitarist movement in Turkey, according to his friends.

Ekin KARACA, ekin@bianet.org
BIA News Center
31 July 2012, Tuesday
http://www.bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/140046-turkey-s-firs...

27 Jun 2012

Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz has said his ministry is continuing to work on options for dealing with conscientious objectors.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the minister said their efforts are aimed at protecting the Turkish state from new fines to be imposed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) due to Turkey's policy of mandatory military service. In Turkey, military service is compulsory for all male citizens over the age of 20; however, if a man is enrolled in an institution of higher learning, he is allowed to delay his service until he completes his education.

22 May 2012

At the end of Conscientious Objection Week, 14 people declared their conscientious objections following the march from Tünel to Taksim Square.

At the end of Conscientious Objection Week, conscientious objectors and anti-militarists came together at Tunel district and marched to Taksim Square. Following the march and the press statement, 14 people declared their conscientious objections.

10 Apr 2012

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

The new constitution being prepared is an opportunity to introduce alternative forms of military service and an individual right to object to using a gun or oppose all military service activities, conscientious objectors tell a commission working on the new charter, highlighting a European Council decision favoring such rights.

The Conscientious Objectors Platform made a presentation at Parliament’s constitution-making commission yesterday to demand the right for males to opt out of compulsory military service.

12 Mar 2012

The Malatya Military Court claimed that decisions of the ECHR regarding conscientious objection could also be applied to domestic law in the scope of Article 90 of the Constitution. This landmark ruling was the result of the trial against conscientious objector Delice.

Ekin KARACA
ekin@bianet.org
Malatya - Izmir - Bia News Agency

12 March 2012, Monday
http://bianet.org/english/religion/136857-milestone-decision-for-conscie...

29 Feb 2012

Conscientious objector Savda was arrested and taken to prison upon the approval of a five-month prison sentence on charges of "alienating the public from military service". Amnesty International Turkey and the Human Rights Foundation condemned his arrest.

Conscientious objector Halil Savda was taken into police custody at a hotel in Doğubeyazıt (Ağrı/eastern Turkey) at around six o'clock on Friday morning (24 February). He was brought to the Doğubeyazıt Closed Prison.

21 Jun 2010
English

Posted: 21 June 2010

On 17 June 2010 human rights defender Halil Savda and three other activists were convicted under Article 318 of the Turkish Penal Code which criminalises ‘alienating the public from military service’. The case was opened against them following their attendance at a public demonstration on 6 January 2010 in support of conscientious objector and Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, Enver Aydemir, who had been in military detention since 24 December 2009 for refusing to perform military service.

11 Jun 2010
English

Conscientious objector Aydemir was relaeased upon an "incapability report". His lawyer criticized that the legislation lacks provisions on conscientious objection. Turkey is one of three countries of the European Council that does not recognize the right to conscientious objection.

Istanbul - BİA News Center
11 June 2010, Friday

20 Nov 2009
English

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/soldiers-convicted-ill-t...

19 November 2009
Amnesty International has welcomed the conviction of three Turkish soldiers for “intentionally wounding” a conscientious objector while he was in military custody.

A military court in Istanbul sentenced the soldiers to three months and 10 days' imprisonment on 13 November for the “intentional wounding” of Mehmet Bal in June 2008.

Mehmet Bal was arrested for evading military service on 8 June and detained at Hasdal Military Prison in Istanbul.