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.
While presently - to our knowledge - no conscientious objector or other prisoner for peace is serving a prison term in Turkey, this can change any day. More than 60 individuals publicly declared their conscientious objection since 1989 (this number does not include Jehovah's Witnesses or other religious objectors), and numerous activists and journalists potentially face prison sentences for speaking out against militarism - or reporting on their activities and opinions. Two conscientious objectors - Halil Savda and Enver Aydemir, a Muslim objector - spent time in prison this year and are presently "free", but officially deserters. Other objectors - Osman Murat Ülke, Mehmet Bal, Mehmet Tarhan, to mention just a few - are in a similar situation of "civil death". And all declared conscientious objectors could be imprisoned by police at any time, and handed over to "their" military unit.
In this situation of "civil death" for conscientious objectors, international support is urgently needed. Pressure is even needed so that Turkey implements a decision of the European Court of Human Rights, and even more pressure will be needed for Turkey to finally recognise the human rights of conscientious objectors and antimilitarists.
War Resisters' International has accompanied and supported Turkish war resisters since the very beginning. With your help we will continue to do so.