'Militourism Festival' has been held!

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Back to:Mehmet loves Bariş* Documentation: Conscientious objection in Turkey

This year on '15th of May - International Day of Conscientious Objectors' - an initial thing has been done. Antimilitarists organized a 'tourist' trip to some of the well-known militarist symbols in Istanbul, tried to introduce historical and political features of these symbols to approximately 120 people traveling in 3 buses including those from the press and foreign guests. Meeting at 10 o'clock, at 11, participants sat on the stairs of Haydar Pasa Train Station which was the first stop and listened one of the organizators' Mehmet Tarhan's talk on historical feature of the station and later about the importance of it in the meaning of seeing soldiers off to the army. Afterwards they have watched a street theatre which was performed by Antimilitarists from Izmir on the theme of not joining the army. Before moving back to the buses, one of those who were to declare his conscientious objection, Ersan was thrown up as it is done in seeing soldiers off to the army and people shouted as "the greatest objector, our objector".

From here, getting back on the buses, under the "wide support" of cops, the convoy moved to Gata Military Hospital.

However, in a junction, it was seen that a traffic vehicle that we were forced to follow wanted to channel us to another direction.

In the junction we have blocked all the traffic and told them they don't have any right to do such a thing and declared that we will go on our way. As the result of a negotiation with Uskudar District Police Manager who has come to the bus -as it was told before by the lawyers that it is forbidden to make activity in front of military establishments, for sure we had an alternative against this situation- we would hardly agree on holding our activity in a park area between Gata and Selimiye. After the statement on Gata and Selimiye was read again by Mehmet, a box of apples i ncluding "rottens" was put there to be picked, this was more useful for the cops.

Moving from here, the convoy kept on its way, this time it made its way to Maslak to visit one of the important capitalists' of the local arm industry Nurol's Plaza.

Passing by the War Academies with buses, importance and properties of this symbol for the Militarist Deep State was explained by the 'guides' to those traveling in the buses. For sure, among the other things, exercise of learning music pieces that were to be sang together during the 'belly-dance' in Besiktas has been made with amusement in the buses. After a declaration was read, participants who has gathered in front of Nurol Plaza got on the buses again and moved towards Besiktas. Passing by General Directorate of Oyak and a petrol station owned by the Mehmetcik Foundation with buses, properties of these symbols of militarist structure were also described by the 'guides' to the participants. People gathered in the park which is nearby the Military Marine Museum in Besiktas in which there is a statue of Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa the greatest Kaptani Derya [Navy Commander] of the Ottomans' and historical cannons. In here the cannons were both nicely "decorated" and exhibited, an article stating the importance of this panorama we are forced to live in every moment was read by Mehmet again.

Later, singing some the well-known cheerful soldier folk songs like "kiz ben sene demedim mi" people did belly-dance.

Participants get really enjoyed it while they were posing for a photo of "Memory of Militourism" by putting their heads in a cardboard on which a soldier breaking rifle was caricaturized.

From here, getting back on to the buses the group went to a park field in Tepebasi. In the park field after the declaration that was read by Mehmet, 5 man and 5 woman new conscientious objectors took the word. After objection declarations of Savas from Canada and Mustafa from Germany - that of which they have sent to www.savaskarsitlari.org - was read, with the participation of the objectors toy rifles were broken. In the evening meeting at 18.30, participants exhibited Conscientious Objectors with a cocktail in Doga Cafe.

[ From the website of Savaskarsitlari (Warresisters) : http://www.savaskarsitlari.org/arsiv.asp?ArsivTipID=8&ArsivAnaID=19548 ]

[This activity was organized by anti-militarist, anti-authoritarian and anarchist groups and individuals from Istanbul, Ankara & Izmir.]

[translation - b.ö./ainfos]

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