Twenty-three year old Mehmet Ali Avcı announced his conscientious objection on 15 August 2008 at the Istanbul Branch of the Human Rights Association (İHD), reported Bianet on 15 August 2008. He is supported by İHD members and Ümit Şahin from the Turkish Green Party.
According to Bianet, the number of the conscientious objectors rises to 69 with Avcı’s declaration (according to WRI's own list, the number is 63). According to Turkish Law, military service is obligatory for all male citizens of 20 yeras of age, with exceptions and postponoments for the sick, disabled and university and post-graduate students. The right to conscientious objection is yet unrecognised and those who escape military service are subject to prison sentences.
According to Avcı, as a Kurd his decision is based on his refusal to take part in the army of a state that takes away and even ignores the existence of his social, political, economic rights and his language. He also refuses to carry arms for the reason that it is a violation of the right to life and does not want to be the guard of war profiteers.
Bianet reports that Avcı invites everyone with a conscience to question this unjust system and to take a stand against the Turkish Armed Forces' insistence on perpetuating this system by refusing to do military service and declaring conscientious objection.
Source: Bianet News Center: Another Conscientious Objectionist Refuses Military Service, 15 August 2008