Turkey

At the beginning of March 2018, Ahmet Alcan declared his desertion from the Turkish army, becoming the only person to publicly announce their refusal to take part in the war in Afrin. Ahmet left the army just three days before his deployment. “Together with me two other soldiers were called up. It seems that they have to take part in the operation in Afrin.

Rheinmetall is a German defence and automotive company founded in 1889, and is Germany's biggest arms manufacturer. In the 2017 fiscal year, Rheinmetall's defence sales were €3.036 billion (the automotive segment were €2.861 billion), and the company employs a total of 23,726 people.

Otokar is the biggest private arms company in Turkey, and specialises in military land vehicles such as tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and turret systems. Formed in 1963, the companies vehicles are now in use in 30 different countries, and the company claims there are now over 30,000 Otokar vehicles in service around the world.

On 26-28 May, activists from Greece, Israel, Russia, Turkey, and Cyprus (both south and north) gathered in Nicosia (Cyprus) for a 3-day training, Gender and Countering Youth Militarisation, organised by War Resisters' International. During the training, participants explored gendered dimensions of youth militarisation within their societies as well as discussing how to work internationally to counter these processes.

At first sight, not much in Istanbul shows that the country is at war. The queues of tourists at passport control are long. Everything is running as normal. Main shopping roads like İstiklal are full of people. But those who travel by metro often have to change trains at Yenikapı station, where you now find an exhibition glorifying war and the military.

Astoundingly, two decades after his imprisonment, Osman Murat Ülke was summoned to the police station again this week by the prosecutor in Bilecik, who has reopened his case, and ordered him to make a statement at the local police station.

The Turkish military has been running an operation called 'Olive Branch' in Syria since 20th January 2018. Reports from the region show the human cost of the ongoing operation, including hundreds of dead as well as injured; and show how it has fuelled conflict in the region. War Resisters' International stands in solidarity with activists in Turkey supporting peace and opposing war in Syria, Turkey and elsewhere. Here we share a statement from the Human Rights Association and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, which WRI's Turkey Working Group endorses, on the ongoing military operation in Northern Syria.

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