Welcome to the October issue of the co-update e-newsletter - a little late, but we hope that with the next issue we will get back on schedule.

The focus of this issue is mainly on developments regarding recruitment trends - Canada, China, and the European Union. But one case of a 'conscientious objector' was all over the media recently, and we too mention it in this newsletter: the case of Hakan Ekinci who hijacked a Turkish Airlines plane while being deported from Albania.

It is obvious, as the Turkish war resisters say in their statement, that "the act of hijacking a plane and endangering the life of hundreds doesn’t comply with the basic premises of conscientious objection which is rejecting all forms of relations that preach murder." While the plane hijacking has little to do with conscientious objection - and is used by authorities to discredit conscientious objectors - it highlights the possible implications of compulsory military service, and also of a restrictive asylum procedure. It shows to what kind of desperate acts the fear of prosecution for not performing military service can lead, especially when someone comes from an oppressive country, which Turkey, in spite of all the talk of democratisation and EU membership, still is.

It is questionable - maybe unlikely - that Hakan Ekinci would have qualified as conscientious objector, even if Turkey would recognise conscientious objection, and would pass a law on conscientious objection, as demanded by the European parliament on 8 September. While conscientious objection is a fundamental human right, and is not the answer to all the problems related to conscription (or for that matter even the special 'work' contracts of voluntary soldiers, which don't allow for discharge at any time, and threaten imprisonment for non-fulfilment of contract obligations, which is unheard of in the private world). The case of Hakan Ekinci once again shows that it is not conscientious objection which is problematic, but any form of military service, be they compulsory or voluntary.

Andreas Speck


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