Refusing to kill is not a crime

Stop persecuting conscientious objectors and refusers

Conscientious objector
in danger of re-imprisonment

Osman Murat Ülke, the first Turkish CO to be imprisoned, is again threatened with a 17-months sentence although the military court decision was eight years ago.

On 1 September 1995 Mr Ülke burned his military call-up papers, saying: “I am not a soldier and I will never be . . . I will never perform military service.”

From October 1996-March 1999 he was repeatedly arrested, charged, convicted and jailed for refusing conscription.

On 9 March 1999 Mr Ülke was released from military prison and ordered to present himself again to his military unit: instead, he went home and has since lived a semi-legal life, officially a deserter, but not arrested.

On 24 January 2006 the European Court of Human Rights found that: " The clandestine life amounting almost to “civil death” which [he] had been compelled to adopt . . . constituted degrading treatment within the meaning of Article 3 [of the Human Rights Act]."

On 13-14 February 2007 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe “deplored that the Turkish authorities had as yet taken no individual measure to put an end to the violation found by the Court."

On 6 June 2007 the Turkish authorities told the Council of Europe that a draft law to prevent repeated punishment of conscientious objectors was under way.

Yet on 14 June 2007 the Turkish military prosecutor’s office ordered Mr Ülke to serve a 17-months sentence.  He risks arrest and re-imprisonment despite the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights, the Committee of Ministers, and the (so far) empty promises of the Turkish authorities.

We demand that the Turkish authorities:

*  Comply with the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Osman Murat Ülke

*  Recognise the right to conscientious objection and exempt COs from military service

*  End now the persecution and “civil death” of conscientious objectors

      *  Release imprisoned Kurdish CO Halil Savda immediately.

The 5 June 2007 International Day of Action – organized by the Conscientious Objection Platform (Turkey), Global Women’s Strike, Greek Association of Conscientious Objectors, and Payday men’s network – highlighted in particular the persecution of Osman Murat Ülke

We called especially on anti-war organizations to recognize the contribution of COs and other refusers to the anti-war movement and to organize actions to demand recognition of their right to refuse to kill, and thus to CO status and an end to their persecution.

Protesting at a military recruitment center, Philadelphia, 5 June 2007

*  Sign the petition-on-line to defend Osman Murat Ülke co-sponsored by: German Peace Society - United War Resisters, Global Women’s Strike, Greek Association of Conscientious Objectors, Payday men’s network, War Resisters International.
*  Write to your country representative on the Council of Europe: the current Chair of the Committee of Ministers is Vuk Jeremić of Serbia (email  The UK representative is Secretary of State David Miliband MP (email The US observer at the Council is Ambassador at the Council is Craig Roberts Stapleton (Fax 011 33 1 42 66 97 83). Please cc Payday, to forward to MEPs.

Action alert issued by Payday men’s network (UK and US) 020 7209 4751