Campaigns: Support Turkish objectors

International support for Turkish COs continues to be very important. This page contains links to CO testimony and to recent WRI alerts and reports on the situation of conscientious objectors in Turkey.


WRI Statements

09 Feb 2011
English

War Resisters' International (WRI), an international network of pacifist and antimilitarist organisations with more than 90 affiliates in more than 40 countries, condemns the persecution of Turkish antimilitarist and feminist Pinar Selek. For 12 years now, Pinar Selek has been under prosecution for a crime she did not commit and in connection with which there is no evidence against her - the so-called bombing of the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul on 09 July 1998. Pinar Selek was arrested in 1998, tortured during investigation and spent two and a half years in prison.

02 Jul 2005
English

The council meeting of War Resisters' International in Seoul, Korea 30 June - 2 July 2005 demands the immediate release of conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan and the full recognition of his right to consceintious objection. Mehmet Tarhan is a well known activist on issues of antimilitarism and gay rights in Turkey. He was arrested on April 8th, 2005, on the grounds he was a "roll call deserter".

CO Alerts

22 Oct 2014
English

UPDATE 28 October: the trial has been postponed, please continue to send the protest email until the new trial date - 5 November: send a protest email here.

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21 Oct 2014
English

WRI's affiliate in Turkey, Vicdani Ret Derneği, have issued an appeal on behalf of one of their board members, Ali Fikri Işık, a conscientious objector awaiting sentencing now.

19 Jul 2013
English

Onur ErdenOnur ErdenAfter his demand for political asylum was rejected by the Republic of Cyprus, Turkish conscientious objector Onur Erden was deported back to Istanbul via Jordan on Thursday, July 11th. He was arrested after his appearance in the court and transferred to military prison in Kasimpasa Naval Base in Istanbul. On 17 July, he was transferred to the 2nd Army Corps Command Military Prison in Gelibolu, Çanakkale. He remains in custody.

08 Mar 2013
English

On 27th February, conscientious objector Ali Fikri Işık was sentenced to serve 1 year and 15 days in Edirne Military Prison for 'desertion'. Since 27th February, Ali Fikri Işık has been on hunger strike.

Isik has already served 4.5 months in Edirne Military Prison for 'draft evasion'. He declared his conscientious objection whilst on trial in the military court.

You can send a protest email here.

Background information

21 Sep 2012
English

War Resisters' International has learnt of the reimprisonment of conscientious objector İnan Suver on 12 September 2012. He was arrested in Istanbul during a routine identity check.

He has been re-arrested for escaping from hospital whilst serving a prison sentence for conscientious objection.

İnan was sentenced in absentia to five months imprisonment for his escape from prison.

Other posts

28 Nov 2016
English

To the press and the public;

17 May 2016
English

14 May panel14 May panel

On May 14 and 15, the event titled "We Will Not Let Amed Turn Into Garrison Town" that we as Conscientious Objection Association (COA) together with Tahir Elçi City Forest Coordination have organized ended in 15th May.

30 Mar 2016
English

Solidarity action outside the Israeli embassy in Athens for Tair Kaminer, Israeli CO currently in jailSolidarity action outside the Israeli embassy in Athens for Tair Kaminer, Israeli CO currently in jailConscientious objector groups from the eastern Mediterranean region have recently issued a statement on the ongoing military crisis in their region. Declaring their solidarity with refugees escaping from war and repression, they made a call to the international community to pursue peaceful solutions, rather than militarised ones, for the ongoing violence in the region. “The world's reaction to the current regional violence,” the statement declares, “should be building societies, assisting refugees, and mediating between fighting parties, not selling arms, bombings and providing military assistance.”

Read more...

30 Mar 2016
English

International peace organisations, including War Resisters' International, are appealing to the European Union to not lose sight of the situation in Turkey. The renewed war in south-east Turkey is taking place largely away from the attention of the international public: instead terrorist attacks, the war in Syria, and the refugee issue dominate the agenda. But in the face of violence and human rights violations in the war between the Turkish government and PKK regions, we demand that European politicians no longer look away. For that purpose, we have created a petition directed at the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Federica Mogherini. Join us in our appeal here.

Read more...

23 Mar 2016
English

 Sentez yoksa düşünce yok, düşünce yoksa özgürlük de yok

ONUR EREM / @onurerem - BİRGÜN NEWSPAPER

Turkish courts have released the detailed ruling against Yannis Vasilis Yaylali, a conscientious objector from Turkey who was convicted for violating a highly controversial penal code, Article 318 – “alienating public from military service”. The details show that Turkish courts are having a go at philosophy in order to sentence Yaylali to 7 months and 15 days in prison. The court simply argued that Yaylali’s thoughts are not real thoughts, thus he can’t benefit from freedom of thought!

09 Mar 2016
English

We are conscientious objectors from all around the eastern Mediterranean region. Our region has suffered for so long from oppression, injustice, militarisation, military occupations and wars, as well as poverty, illiteracy, hunger and lack of social infrastructure. In this difficult period, when our region seems to fall even more into the chaos of war, we raise a common voice for peace and against militarisation.

We refuse to allow this cycle of violence, initiated by oppressive states and economic interests, to continue; we refuse to be a part of it; we refuse to be enemies with people who just happen to be of a different nationality or religion; we will not be dragged into their wars and armies leading to death and destruction in the region.

29 Jan 2016
English

Yannis Vasilis YaylaliYannis Vasilis YaylaliOn 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."

18 Sep 2015
English

Photo: BianetPhoto: BianetConscientious Objector Mehmet Tarhan was detained in Aydın province and then was released on probation. Tarhan commented: “Civil death started for me.”

Conscientious Objector and LGBTI activist Mehmet Tarhan was detained in Aydın province and then released.

Tarhan talked to bianet that he was placed a charge of being deserter in March 2015 and a warrant was issued.

Tarhan was taken to prosecution and then to recruiting office in Aydın province in Aegean Region of Turkey:

“They granted me two days to be enlisted and then released me in the recruiting office. It means the time of “civil death” started for me.

09 Sep 2015
English

Vicdani Ret Derneği, the Turkish CO Association, held an international symposium on conscientious objection (CO), on 5-6 September in Istanbul. The meetings were packed, and at the end of the symposium, over 20 COs went to Galatasaray Square and publicly declared their conscientious objection.

27 Jul 2015
English

Polen ÜnlüPolen ÜnlüStatement from WRI affiliate Vicdani Ret Derneği

On 20th of July, many young people from different cities took the road for the re-construction of Kobanê which is the city that has been resisting against the attacks of ISIS for several months. Those young people wanted to re-build the city which was destroyed by war and bring life back to the children who are sentenced to death in the pillaged land. Alper SapanAlper Sapan

But they could not success. Everlasting war policy turned to a bomb and exploded right at the middle of the crowd of young people who were resisting to build the peace. Tens of people lost their lives and hundreds of them were injured.

One of those young people who had lost her life is Polen Ünlü who declared her conscientious objection in 2012 by saying “That war does not murder only men, but it murders women as well.” Alper Sapan is also one of those young people who had murdered in the massacre, and also one of conscientious objectors who declared his conscientious objection in May 2014 by saying “For the world where there is no war, no nation, no border; for freedom, I am listening to my heart and rejecting the military service.”

Forum posts

14 Aug 2012

Criticized in the previous years for asking gays to bring photos of them taken during sexual intercourse in order for them to receive a so-called “rotten” (unfit) report that would exempt them from mandatory military service, Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) now gave up on this method and found a derivative of it.

01 Aug 2012

Turkey’s first conscientious objector to mandatory military service passed away at the age of 54 due to a heart attack on Monday night. A doctor by training, Tayfun Gönül had made critical contributions to the antimilitarist movement in Turkey, according to his friends.

Ekin KARACA, ekin@bianet.org
BIA News Center
31 July 2012, Tuesday
http://www.bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/140046-turkey-s-firs...

27 Jun 2012

Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz has said his ministry is continuing to work on options for dealing with conscientious objectors.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the minister said their efforts are aimed at protecting the Turkish state from new fines to be imposed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) due to Turkey's policy of mandatory military service. In Turkey, military service is compulsory for all male citizens over the age of 20; however, if a man is enrolled in an institution of higher learning, he is allowed to delay his service until he completes his education.

22 May 2012

At the end of Conscientious Objection Week, 14 people declared their conscientious objections following the march from Tünel to Taksim Square.

At the end of Conscientious Objection Week, conscientious objectors and anti-militarists came together at Tunel district and marched to Taksim Square. Following the march and the press statement, 14 people declared their conscientious objections.

10 Apr 2012

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

The new constitution being prepared is an opportunity to introduce alternative forms of military service and an individual right to object to using a gun or oppose all military service activities, conscientious objectors tell a commission working on the new charter, highlighting a European Council decision favoring such rights.

The Conscientious Objectors Platform made a presentation at Parliament’s constitution-making commission yesterday to demand the right for males to opt out of compulsory military service.

12 Mar 2012

The Malatya Military Court claimed that decisions of the ECHR regarding conscientious objection could also be applied to domestic law in the scope of Article 90 of the Constitution. This landmark ruling was the result of the trial against conscientious objector Delice.

Ekin KARACA
ekin@bianet.org
Malatya - Izmir - Bia News Agency

12 March 2012, Monday
http://bianet.org/english/religion/136857-milestone-decision-for-conscie...

29 Feb 2012

Conscientious objector Savda was arrested and taken to prison upon the approval of a five-month prison sentence on charges of "alienating the public from military service". Amnesty International Turkey and the Human Rights Foundation condemned his arrest.

Conscientious objector Halil Savda was taken into police custody at a hotel in Doğubeyazıt (Ağrı/eastern Turkey) at around six o'clock on Friday morning (24 February). He was brought to the Doğubeyazıt Closed Prison.

21 Jun 2010
English

Posted: 21 June 2010

On 17 June 2010 human rights defender Halil Savda and three other activists were convicted under Article 318 of the Turkish Penal Code which criminalises ‘alienating the public from military service’. The case was opened against them following their attendance at a public demonstration on 6 January 2010 in support of conscientious objector and Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, Enver Aydemir, who had been in military detention since 24 December 2009 for refusing to perform military service.

11 Jun 2010
English

Conscientious objector Aydemir was relaeased upon an "incapability report". His lawyer criticized that the legislation lacks provisions on conscientious objection. Turkey is one of three countries of the European Council that does not recognize the right to conscientious objection.

Istanbul - BİA News Center
11 June 2010, Friday

20 Nov 2009
English

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/soldiers-convicted-ill-t...

19 November 2009
Amnesty International has welcomed the conviction of three Turkish soldiers for “intentionally wounding” a conscientious objector while he was in military custody.

A military court in Istanbul sentenced the soldiers to three months and 10 days' imprisonment on 13 November for the “intentional wounding” of Mehmet Bal in June 2008.

Mehmet Bal was arrested for evading military service on 8 June and detained at Hasdal Military Prison in Istanbul.