Turkey

Conscientious objector Onur Erden has been sentenced to 10 months in prison on charge of deserting mandatory military service. Erden will go to prison if the penalty is approved by the Military Supreme Court.

Trials of conscientious objectors Onur Erden and Uğur Gültekin, who were pending a trial without arrest on charge of deserting mandatory military service, were heard by Gelibolu 2nd Corps Commandership Military Court.

On 24 April 2017, War Resisters' International joined a group of international organisations to observe the second hearing of Serdar Küni, a doctor and veteran human rights defender from Turkey imprisoned last October. Below is the statement of the international delegation, including Andreas Speck from War Resisters' International, explaining their concerns from the trial yesterday.

Serdar Kuni

This month, War Resisters' International joined a group of international organisations to observe the hearing of Serdar Küni, a doctor and veteran human rights defender in Şırnak, Turkey. Dr. Kuni was arrested last October, accused of “providing treatment to alleged militants” and not informing security services about it. In the trial, which was attended by 70 people, including six observers from Germany, UK, Sweden, Norway and US, Dr.

Early this week, War Resisters' International joined a group of international organisations to observe the hearing of Serdar Küni, a doctor and veteran human rights defender in Şırnak, Turkey. Dr. Küni has been kept in custody since October 2016, accused of being a member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) under Article 314/2 of Turkish Penal Code. His first trial, attended by 70 observers, including six observers from Germany, UK, Sweden, Norway and US. took place on 13th March, Monday.

This is an urgent call from the Human Rights Association (HRA - Turkey) and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) with whom WRI has been working for many years. In the morning of the 15th March, M.Raci Bilici Chairperson of Human Rights Association (İHD) Diyarbakır Branch and Vice-Chairperson of İHD Headquarters has been arrested along with 11 old and new representatives of the NGOs in Diyarbakır. As reported by the HRFT alleged charges are not learned yet due to the confidentiality order on the investigation file.

With the increasing need for solidarity with Turkish civil society, the Bund für Soziale Verteidigung (Foundation for Social Defence) - a WRI affiliate in Germany - are fundraising for 1,400 Euros to print our Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns in Turkish.

This money would go to the Istanbul Nonviolent Education and Research Centre who will then distribute the handbook for free in their nonviolence workshops and trainings. Please help activists in Turkey to improve their skills in nonviolent action through using this handbook!

Please donate here.

The trial of three human rights defenders and journalists from Turkey, who are being tried due to their participation in a freedom of expression campaign for a pro-Kurdish daily newspaper, began in Istanbul on 8 November. War Resisters’ International, together with many other national and international organisations, were ready at the courthouse to support Prof. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, the president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, and the journalists Erol Önderoğlu and Ahmet Nesin.

To the press and the public;

While the society is being tried to be made more hostile within each other day by day with the militarist and nationalist speeches that have increased after the termination of the solution process, the militarist pressure on the society is now changing shape. In these days when the militarist language is becoming dominant, the pressure on the society doesn’t remain as just words. In this context; the provisions of the law which have been in force for years but have never been applied in practice, have started to being put into practice.

The trial against the president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV), Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, the journalist Erol Önderoğlu, and the writer Ahmet Nesin began on 8 November. The prosecutor accused the three of producing propaganda for a terrorist organization because of their participation in a freedom of expression campaign for the pro-Kurd newspaper Özgür Gündem.

Before the hearing, international and local observers were invited by the Medical Chamber Istanbul for a gathering in their centre. On a morning gathering, the International Forum for Justice and Freedom, they emphasised their solidarity with the accused.

Carol Thompson

The bright smile. Contagious laughter. Her sunshine drew others to her, to debate and argue, to learn and ponder. Energetic resolution, a passion for justice, for constant giving define Kayla Mueller; not her capture by ISIS, her torture and tragic death at age 26.

We share the conscientious objection declaration by Hilal Demir, first published in Women and Conscientious Objection - An Anthology

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I don't want to live in a world that is sexist, hierarchic, authoritarian, militarist and patriarchal.

I do not want them to give me their system-based school education…

I do not want people to die in wars because they are deceived.

I do not want to have to prove that I am a fully intelligent being and individual, just because I am a woman.

I do not want to brush aside the state's war policies and their lies.

I do not want militaries that train dummies to die in wars…

I do not want people to decide for me about anything without asking me…

I do not want to see militarist concepts and behaviours within our movements…

I do not want to live under patriarchic rules and behaviors that invade my private life.

I do not want antbody to judge people's sexual identities.

I do not want to be ruled by labels such as "mother", "wife", "daughter", "girlfriend" just because I am a woman…

I do not want to live fenced in by borders…

I do not want to kill and be killed…

And.. I am rejecting all of these by listening to my conscience…

Because I WANT to live free and happy, in a world where there is no war, or any kind of violence, anti-authoritarian, without borders.

And you?

Hilal Demir, 2005 Izmir

In Spring 2016 War Resisters' International launched a new campaign focusing on the escalating cycle of violence in Turkey. As part of this campaign, initiated in response to demands from WRI activists in Turkey, we have also launched a petition addressing the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the European Union. The appeal was calling on the EU not to lose sight of the situation in Turkey, and to take action on the escalating violence in the country.

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