Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe urges Turkey to recognize the right of conscientious objection


The Deputies

  • recalled that these cases concern the applicants’ repetitive prosecutions and convictions for refusing to carry out compulsory military service as pacifists and conscientious objectors, as a result of which they are compelled to lead clandestine lives amounting to “civil death”, and the absence of a procedure to establish their status as conscientious objectors;

As regards individual measures

  • recalling that the applicants in the cases Enver Aydemir, Feti Demirtaş and Halil Savda are no longer under the obligation to carry out military service, have no criminal record or pending proceedings against them, and have not had administrative fines imposed upon them, decided to close their supervision of the execution of these cases and adopted Final Resolution CM/ResDH(2023)145;
  • deeply regretted that Osman Murat Ülke, Yunus Erçep and Ersin Ölgün are still considered draft evaders, hence continue to face the threat of criminal and administrative proceedings as well as a situation of “civil death”; noting also that criminal proceedings against Mehmet Tarhan have been pending since 2005 and that the constitutional complaint of Baris Görmez is also pending, strongly urged the Turkish authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure that all negative consequences of the violations found by the Court are rapidly eliminated in respect of all these applicants;

As regards general measures 

  • noting that “paid military service” and reduction of the length of compulsory military service do not constitute an alternative to mandatory military service which would remedy the fundamental problems identified by the Court in these cases, expressed profound regret that no progress has been achieved since the delivery of the Ülke judgment in 2006 in taking targeted measures to prevent future similar violations;
  • strongly urged the Turkish authorities to provide an action plan with concrete proposals for legislative amendments to address the Court’s findings in this group before the next examination of these cases,
  • in view of the longstanding issues examined in these cases and the lack of progress achieved so far, decided to resume consideration of these cases at their DH meeting in June 2024 at the latest and, in the absence of concrete information allowing for a positive assessment of the general measures, instructed the Secretariat to prepare a draft interim resolution for examination at that meeting.

Ministers‘ Deputies, Decisions. June 7, 2023. H46-36 Ülke group v. Turkey (Application n° 39437/98), Supervision of the execution of the European Court’s judgments, CM/Del/Dec(2023)1468/H46-36.

Keywords:    ⇒ Europe   ⇒ Turkey