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On 15 October, the Council of Europe (CoE) is due to reconsider Osman Murat Ülke’s case against Turkey for its persistent persecution of conscientious objectors. On the same day we are submitting an international petition in his support to the CoE and the Turkish authorities. 


Mr Ülke is a conscientious objector imprisoned again and again between 1996 and 1999 for the “crime” of refusing to kill.  Now 36 and a father of a young child, he is again being threatened with arrest and ordered to serve another 17 months in a military prison.


The petition, addressed to the Turkish authorities and the CoE, was circulated in English, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish and Turkish and co-sponsored by six organisations from Europe and the US1. It has been signed by over 1,300 women and men from around the world.  They include refuseniks, anti-war activists, trade unionists, lawyers, academics and an MEP. 


On 24 January 2006, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), ruling on Mr Ülke’s case versus Turkey, found Turkey guilty of violating the European Convention on Human Rights2. Subsequently the CoE urged the Turkish government to implement the Court’s judgment in his case.  Turkey has done worse than nothing, using Art. 318 of its Penal Code3 to crack down on conscientious objectors, anti-militarists and journalists.


We urge the CoE to apply the most severe sanctions possible if Turkey continues to make a mockery of European institutions by persecuting conscientious objectors.


We reiterate the demands of our petition, that Turkey: 
» Comply with the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights and the military drop its case against Mr Ülke;
» Recognise the right to conscientious objection and exempt conscientious objectors from military service;
» Immediately end the persecution and “civil death” of all conscientious objectors.


1. This International Petition is co-sponsored by: Connection e.V.,  DFG-VK (German Peace Society - United War Resisters), Global Women’s Strike, Greek Association of Conscientious Objectors, Payday men’s network, War Resisters International.


2. "The numerous criminal prosecutions . . . together with the possibility that he would be liable to prosecution for the rest of his life . . . The clandestine life amounting almost to ‘civil death’ which [Mr Ülke] had been compelled to adopt . . . constituted degrading treatment within the meaning of Article 3.


3. Article 318:

(1) Persons who give incentives or make suggestions or spread propaganda which will have the effect of discouraging people from performing military service shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of six months to two years.

(2) If the act is committed through the medium of the press and media, the penalty shall be increased by half.

Payday, a network of men working with the Global Women’s Strike

REFUSING TO KILL IS NOT A CRIME! +44 20 7209 4751 payday@paydaynet


12 October 2007