Turkey: CO Yannis Vasilis Yaylali sentenced to seven months for "alienating people from military service"
On 6 January 2016, conscientious objector Yannis Vasilis Yaylali was sentenced to 7 months and 15 days of prison penalty, for his articles that defend conscientious objection and oppose the war going on in Kurdish regions. The custodial sentence can only begin after the decision of court of appeal, so he is not in prison yet. He was found guilty of flouting the infamous Article 318 of the Turkish penal code: alienating people from military service. He has two more prosecutions with the same accusation.
Yannis made a statement after the decision:
"Article 318 was rarely used in the last years, until the war began again last year. The state is increasing its pressure to all war resisters, anti-militarists and conscientious objectors in the times of war. They're trying to silence us but we won't give in."
Co-President of CO Association of Turkey, Gökhan Soysal said:
"We were trying to attend the court in Uludere, but it was not physically possible because of the curfew that's implemented. So I can tell that the war is also limiting people's right to defence. This decision will be nullified either by Court of Appeal, Supreme Court or ECHR."
Turkey's ex-judge in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and formely member of parliament (from the CHP), Rıza Türmen says: "Turkey is the only country in Europe which doesn't recognize CO. But there must be civilian alternative to military service. With the recognization of CO right, the article 318 for alienation public from military will be nullified too. Until this happens, Turkey will lost all the cases in ECHR. I prepared draft laws to the Turkish Parliament during my membership, but my proposals were never taken into the agenda by the Parliament. Turkey regards CO as an issue of national security, but this is all wrong. CO is a human right."
More information (in Turkish): http://www.birgun.net/haber-detay/halki-askerlikten-soguttu-7-ay-hapis-cezasi-aldi-99933.html