Turkey: Conscientious objectors in exile call to refuse

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Today, exiled conscientious objectors from Turkey published a call to refuse the war in Northern Syria: “Refuse! Resist! Don’t be a soldier!” They declared: “This is an illegal war that contradicts international treaties. Those who make the decision to invade, those who participate in it, and those who offer support should know that they are committing a crime against humanity!”

Connection e.V. today emphasized that this declaration is a particularly important voice against the war. “These conscientious objectors”, Rudi Friedrich of Connection e.V. said today, “speak for many others who no longer dare in Turkey to publicly oppose the war. There, they face prosecution and imprisonment.”

In their statement, conscientious objectors also called on the Turkish state “to recognise the right to conscientious objection”. Despite repeated convictions by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), Turkey doesn't recognise the human right to conscientious objection.Conscientious objectors are still facing repeated prosecution. Hundreds of thousands who, according to official sources, have evaded the draft live under the conditions of “civil death” as the ECtHR defined it. It is a life on the margins of society with the constant danger to be recruited.

"Given the policy of the Turkish government“, added Rudi Friedrich, "any support of the regime must be halted. This must include the immediate stop of arms exports. But this also mean that persecuted critics of government policy, such as conscientious objectors and deserters, receive protection and asylum.”

Today in Europe, conscientious objectors are often denied asylum despite the prosecution they would face in their home countries. In their statement, exiled conscientious objectors from Turkey also made a call to European countries “to protect conscientious objectors and military deserters who are, and will be, seeking asylum.”

Read their full statement here.

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