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TURKEY: Court defies judgement of European Court of Human Rights in Ülke case

  • Turkey

The Military Court of Eskisehir turned down the application by Osman Murat Ülke's lawyer Hülya Üçpınar on 27 July 2007. In July, Osman Murat Ülke received an information from the Military Prosecutor's office in Eskisehir, ordering him to present himself to the prosecutor, in order to serve outstanding sentences for "persistent disobedience" (see co-alert, 11 July 2007).
These sentences had been the subject of a judgemement by the European Court of Human Rights from 24 January 2006, in which the ECHR found the treatment of Osman Murat Ülke "constituted degrading treatment within the meaning of Article 3." The court awared Osman Murat Ülke a financial compensation and demanded that the situation of the applicant be resolved.

However, this has not happened yet, and the recent arrest warrant constitutes an escalation of the situation. Consequently, Osman Murat Ülke applied to the Military Court of Eskisehir and requested for the arrest warrant to be withdrawn. However, the court turned down this request.

The court writes in its decision:
"The convicted Osman Murat ÜLKE has been convicted of “persistent disobedience” for two different criminal acts. Our Court decided for summing up the two conviction verdicts for these crimes, one being 01.01.1999 dated, -19 and the other being 09.03.1999 dated, 1999/229-102.  According to the assembly decision of 20.10.1999, 1999/190-229 and 1999/51 Mut., the Court decided for a TOTAL OF SEVENTEEN MONTHS FIFTEEN DAYS OF IMPRISONMENT and that the execution of the sentence has not commenced yet;"
Regarding the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights, the court argues: "With respect to the European Convention of Human Rights and article 90 of the Turkish Constitution, the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights are regarded as the ground for retrials within the framework of our domestic law.  However; the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment regarding the convict, does not include a clause that requires him to be re-tried."

Osman Murat Ülke, who has been living a more or less clandestine life since his release in March 1999, is now at high risk of being arrested again, in spite of the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights.

  • War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the Turkish authorities, and Turkish embassies abroad.

Presidency of the Turkish Republic: Fax +90-312-4271330, email
A protest email to the Turkish President Ahmet Nezdet Secer can be sent at

  • War Resisters' International calls on the Turkey to finally solve the situation of Osman Murat Ülke and to comply with the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights.

  • War Resisters' International calls on Turkey to finally recognise the right to conscientious objection, and to exempt all existing conscientious objectors from military service.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International

Archives of co-alert can be found at