15 Months of
Military Service or 3 Years of Torture!
11 June 2010
Conscientious objector Aydemir was released upon an "incapability
report". His lawyer criticized that the legislation lacks provisions
on conscientious objection. Turkey is one of three countries of the
European Council that does not recognize the right to conscientious
Conscientious objector Enver Aydemir
was eventually discharged from military service upon an
"incapability report" issued by a military hospital after three
years of torture, repression and punishments. Aydemir refused to
serve in the military for religious reasons.
Aydemir commented that it was not him who was incapable but the
legal system not recognizing the right to conscientious objection.
was released from the Eskişehir Military Prison (north-western
Anatolia) on 9 June. Subsequently, Aydemir held a press conference
at the Human Rights Foundation (İHD)
2007, Aydemir had declared not to do his military service due to
conscientious objection. Initially, the military branch sent him
away. Later on, Aydemir was detained for being a "deserter" and
released after three months in detention.
Aydemir came to Istanbul in December 2009 to deliver a speech at the
Convention of the Platform of Conscientious Objection for Peace. He
was arrested in the course of an identity check and taken to his
unit after another three months in detention. After he had refused
to wear a uniform, charges of disobeying orders were pressed against
him and he was kept in prison for another month.
No related laws
Lawyer Davut Erkan
criticized the legal system, "The law makers acted within the
official ideology, thus they did not consider the possibility of
people refusing to do their military service".
legislation does not anticipate the right to conscientious
objection. People who do not call on the military branch even though
they are not of age are called 'draft evaders'. After they have
joint their units, they become new conscripts charged with desertion
because they were not present at their first muster. But since they
have not become soldiers yet, this cannot be evaluated as a military
Erkan indicated that his client Aydemir never actually became a
soldier. Nevertheless, he was tried at a military court and their
claims for lack of jurisdiction were dismissed, which, in the
lawyers opinion, was "unlawful".
"State is governed by security paranoia"
from the Pacifist Group emphasized that the diagnosis of Aydemir's
"anti-social personality disorder" lacked justification. "This is
the pretext to get rid of the ones who insist on their resistance".
Sönmez said that Turkey signed several international agreements that
recognize the right for conscientious objection.
"Member states of the European Union recognize this right. Only
Turkey, Belarus and Azerbaijan do not recognize this right out of a
total of 47 members of the European Council", Sönmez stated.
people attended a meeting of the platform in May, the total number
of conscientious objectors in Turkey amounts to 118.
the case of Osman Murat Ülke
in 2006, the European Court of Human Rights determined that a full
deprivation of all public rights dooms the convict to 'civil
death'". Yet, Turkey did not enforce according provisions.
Conscientious objectors as well as journalists and activists
advocating for the right to conscientious objection are frequently
being tried under article 315 of the Turkish Criminal Court on
"alienating the public from military service".
36-year-old Aydemir, father of two children, was tortured when he
was detained in the Maltepe (Istanbul) Military Service. He filed a
criminal complaint. The case is expected to commence in the coming