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

11 Jul 2007
English
Turkish conscientious objector Osman Murat Ülke, who spent 2 1/2 years in prison from October 1996 until March 1999, and who won his case at the European Court of Human Rights in 2006, received a new order from the military prosecutors office of Eskisehir informing him that he is expected to present himself within 10 days of issue of that notice to the prosecutor in order to serve a sentence of 17 months and 15 days in respect of earlier convictions for refusing to undertake military service.
12 Apr 2007
English
Today, the Corlu military court sentenced conscientious objector Halil Savda to a further six months imprisonment, bringing his total prison time up to 21.5 months. Already on 15 March 2007, Halil Savda had been sentenced to 15 months imprisonment on charges of desertion and disobeying orders ? by the same court that now sentenced him again for disobeying orders.
30 Mar 2007
English

Turkish/Kurdish conscientious objector Halil Savda has been severely punished for his declared conscientious objection on 15 March 2007, when he has been sentenced to 15 ½ months imprisonment on charges of desertion and disobeying orders – by the same court that is now to try him again for disobeying orders. He is likely to be sentenced to a further six months of imprisonment at the next trial session on 12 April.

War Resisters' International calls for an international day of action in solidarity with Halil Savda on the day of his trial, and likely sentencing.

20 Mar 2007
English
On 15 March, Turkish conscientious objector Halil Savda (TK14682) was sentenced by the Corlu military court to 15.5 months imprisonment - 12 months for "desertion", and 3.5 months for "continued disobedience".
07 Mar 2007
English

Turkish conscientious objector Halil Savda (TK14682), who has been arrested on 7 December 2006 when attending court, faces a second charge of "disobeying orders" following a "release" from prison, transfer to his military unit, and re-arrest in January 2007.

Other posts

20 Jul 2008
English

The deprivation of liberty of Mr. Halil Savda during the periods between 16 and 28 December 2004, between 7 December 2006 and 2 February 2007, as well as between 5 February and 28 July 2007 was arbitrary. His deprivation of liberty since 27 March 2008 is also arbitrary, being in contravention of articles 9 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of articles 9 and 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights from which the Republic of Turkey is a State
Party, falling under category II of the categories applicable to the consideration of cases submitted to the Working Group. In addition, it also falls under category III of the categories applied by the Working Group, as far as Mr. Savda would have to serve his prison term following his conviction by judgement No. 2007/742-396.

20 May 2008
English

Four new Turkish conscientious objectors declared their conscientious objection on Sunday, 18 May 2008. The declarations were made in Istanbul during "Militurne - Antimilitarist Days", an event to celebrate International Conscientious Objection Day. The names of the COs are Eylem Polat (a woman objector), Deniz Ozgur, Ibrahim Yilmaz and Uzkan Kuru.

01 Apr 2008
English
İsmail Saygıİsmail Saygı

Turkish conscientious objector İsmail Saygı, who had been arrested on 16 March 2008 in İstanbul, withdrew his declaration as conscientious objector while in military prison. İsmail Saygı had been taken into custody on his way home during an ID check.

01 Feb 2008
English

Turkish conscientious objectors won another victory at the European Court of Human Rights. On 8 January 2008, the Strasbourg court awarded Sanar Yurdatapan, spokesperson for the Initiative Freedom of Thought, €2,000 in damages and €1,500 in legal fees. Yurdatapan had been sentenced to two months imprisonment for a statement in support of conscientious objector Osman Murat Ülke.

The case goes back to 1999. On 23 July 1999 Sanar Yurdatapan distributed a leaflet entitled “Freedom of Thought - No. 38” in front of the Istanbul State Security Court Building.

01 Nov 2007
English

A solution for Osman Murat Ülke and other conscientious objectors?

The Council of Europe has increased its pressure on Turkey in the case of conscientious objector Osman Murat Ülke. Osman Murat Ülke declared his conscientious objection and burned his call-up papers on 1 September 1995 in Izmir. He was arrested more than a year later - on 7 October 1996 - on charges of Article 155, "alienating the people from the military".

01 Nov 2007
English

Welcome to the special edition of The Broken Rifle for Prisoners for Peace Day - 1 December. This year we focus on the situation in Turkey. We made this decision before the present escalation of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, which again highlights the power of the military in Turkish society and politics: it is the institution which stands above everything - the government, the constitution, international human rights standards.

01 Nov 2007
English

In January 2007, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg decided on the case of Turkish conscientious objector Osman Murat Ülke, who between 1997 and 1999 spent 2 1/2 years in military prison on numerous charges of „disobedience".

01 Nov 2007
English

"Patriotic service is a right and duty for every Turkish citizen", states article 72 of the Turkish constitution. Military service is thus a seemingly inevitable part of a Turkish man's life, and the thought that a man who is not physically unfit would not serve in the country's military can almost not be voiced in public. Turkey as a military-nation and the myth that "every Turk is born a soldier" has been carefully crafted since the early times of the new Turkish republic, and only recently does this myth begin to show cracks.

01 Nov 2007
English

Osman Murat Ülke declared his conscientious objection and burned his call-up papers on 1 September 1995 in Izmir. He was arrested more than a year later - on 7 October 1996 - on charges of Article 155, "alienating the people from the military".

01 Nov 2007
English
Article 318:
(1) Persons who give incentives or make suggestions or spread propaganda which will have the effect of discouraging people from performing military service shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of six months to two years.

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.