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Regional solidarity actions for Cypriot CO Murat Kanatlı

Istanbul: The Conscientious Objection Association of TurkeyIstanbul: The Conscientious Objection Association of TurkeyFollowing a meeting in Cyprus of conscientious objector and war refuser movements in the Eastern Mediterranean region at the end of January, when CO in Cyprus Murat Kanatlı (and co-organiser of the meeting in Nicosia) was imprisoned for ten days in February, solidarity actions took place in Turkey, Greece and Israel (by Druze Palestinian objectors). In Athens, activists were temporarily detained for their protest at the Turkish embassy. Watch a video of activists in Istanbul here.


NORTHERN CYPRUS: Conscientious objector Murat Kanatli imprisoned

  • Chypre

Three weeks ago Murat Kanatli hosted a group of thirty activists from around the Eastern Mediterranean region who gathered in Nicosia for a meeting of conscientious objector and war resister movements in the Eastern Mediterranean. Today he has been imprisoned for his refusal to take part in the annual compulsory military service exercises.

Release conscientious objector Murat Kanatli

  • Chypre
Not sent after:
  • 5 Mar 2014
  • Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Turkish President Abdullah Gül). You can add your own notes in a separate box after the standard text, if you wish. You must include a name, address, and email address; a copy will be sent to you with a cc to the WRI office (so we have a record of how many email letters have been sent out for this particular case).

Release conscientious objector Murat Kanatli

Dear President Abdullah Gül,

Conscientious objector Murat Kanatli has been imprisoned for 10 days in northern Cyprus.

Murat Kanatli refuses to undertaken annual compulsory military exercises based on his beliefs and conscience. He claims his human right to conscientious objection, as guaranteed by Article 18 of the ICCPR. In a decision from January 2007, the United Nations Human Rights Committee recognised the right to conscientious objection as a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, as guaranteed by Article 18 ICCPR.

Halil Karapaşaoğlu

  • Chypre
Activist type:
  • objecteur/trice de conscience
  • Declared objector

Cyprus: small step forward as constitutional court rules on conscientious objection

Related peace activists: 

The case of Murat Kanatli, a CO in Cyprus who declared his conscientious objection in 2009 and has since refused each year to participate in the annual compulsory military exercises in the northern part of Cyprus, has been heard in the Constitutional Court.

Although the full text of the ruling has not yet been published, it appears that the Court has ruled that the unavailability of a substitute to military service constitutes an interference with the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion safeguarded in the Article 23 of the Constitution, and that the duty is upon the legislator to provide in laws and regulations for alternative service to military service. However, the Court went on to state that it does not constitute a conflict with the Constitution.

Special Rapporteur calls for the recognition of conscientious objection in Cyprus

The UN Human Rights Council's Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, has highlighted issues with conscientious objection to military service in the Republic of Cyprus and the northern Turkish-administered region.

In the south, substitute service for conscientious objectors is between three and five months longer than military service. According to international standards, substitute service required of conscientious objectors in lieu of compulsory military service must be compatible not be punitive in nature (UN Commission on Human Rights resolution 1998/77, OP4.) - this includes the duration of substitute service.

In the north – the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – the right to conscientious objection is not legally recognised.

Cyprus: Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, December 2012

Human Rights Council, Twenty-second session, Agenda item 3

Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt: Addendum - Mission to Cyprus


Find the full report on the website of the Office of the High Commission of Human Rights here.

Cyprus: Conscientious objectors on trial for refusing reserve duty

On 14 June 2011, two conscientious objectors of the Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus held a press conference in front of the Turkish Military Court in Nicosia. The reason for this was the beginning of the trial of Murat Kanatli, who has been refusing his reserve duty since 2009.

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