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Conscientious Objection in Turkey

Description and contents of the booklet

(15.05.2021) In Turkey, the first conscientious objectors publicly declared their objections in the early 1990s and stood up against war, the military and compulsory service. In the meantime, far more than 1,000 conscripts have declared their conscientious objections. Furthermore, hundreds of thousands have evaded military service, using other ways or hiding. Faced with prosecution, several hundred have sought asylum abroad. By now Turkey is the only member state in the Council of Europe that has not recognised the right to conscientious objection to military service.

This booklet is published 30 years after the first public declarations of conscientious objection. It takes stock, describes the solidarity work for the conscientious objection movement from abroad and gives a voice to conscientious objectors, some of whom were active in Turkey for years and have now gone into exile.

A publication to the International Day of Conscientious Objection in a quadrilingual online edition.

Download: https://www.Connection-eV.org/pdfs/conscientious-objection-turkey-2021.pdf

Burning of military papers 2014. Photo: Vicdani Ret Derneği

Introduction

Booklet Conscientious Objection in Turkey, 2021

(15.05.2021) This booklet is published 30 years after the first public declarations of conscientious objection. It takes stock, describes the solidarity work for the conscientious objection movement from abroad and gives a voice to conscientious objectors, some of whom were active in Turkey for years and have now gone into exile, with an uncertain outcome.

A main focus of this booklet is on the reports of conscientious objectors who have gone into exile. They portray the everyday reality of militarism in Turkey. Beran Mehmet İşçi, Ercan Aktaş, Halil Savda, Mertcan Güler and Onur Erden make clear how important their decisions against war and violence are to them and what repressions they were consequently subjected to. Despite all the imprisonment, torture and repression they have suffered, the reports radiate something positive, pleading for a world without war, oppression, military and violence.

Asylum for conscientious objectors and deserters. Rallye in Münster/W. 2004

Conscientious Objection and Asylum

(15.05.2021) In the 1990s, several hundred conscripts from Turkey applied for asylum in Germany and other countries. They went public with their conscientious objection, made it clear in front of the Turkish consulate, at press conferences or on other occasions that they were not willing to serve in the Turkish military, especially in protest against the war then waged in southeast Turkey. In many cases, their applications were initially rejected by the authorities. In some cases, they actually succeeded in obtaining protection under refugee law. Quite often this outcome derived from the fact that they had to expect additional criminal prosecution because of their public conscientious objection.

Association for Conscientious Objection

Turkey: Association for Conscientious Objection

(15.05.2021) The conscientious objection association, Vicdani Ret Derneği, was founded in İstanbul in 2013. Since then, the association has been active in bringing together conscientious objectors from all over Turkey and organizing meetings and seminars. It regularly organizes public actions and thus offers new conscientious objectors the opportunity to make their refusal public.