War Resisters' International on conscientious objection in Turkey

Contribution for press conference, Istanbul, 27 February 2012

My name is Andreas Speck, and I am representing War Resisters' International.

WRI is an international antimilitarist network founded in 1921, and is today present in about 40 countries all over the world.

WRI is opposed to all war, because we believe that war is a crime against humanity.

We see conscientious objection not only as a human right, but as a form of resistance to war and militarism.

War Resisters' International supports conscientious objectors world-wide, for example in Colombia, Greece, Israel, South Korea, Finland, Russia, and other countries.

WRI has been supporting Turkish conscientious objectors right from the beginning in 1990.

War Resisters' International sees the following just as some expressions of militarism in Turkey:

  • the non-recognition of the right to conscientious objection, and the repression and imprisonment of conscientious objectors;
  • the repression and imprisonment of supporters of conscientious objectors, antimilitarists and criticism of the military through article 318;
  • the war in Kurdistan, with all its consequences, such as the recently discovered mass graves, the large scale imprisonment of youth under 18, and the repression of the Kurdish and other minorities.

This weekend, we discussed how to organise and coordinate our solidarity with Turkish conscientious objectors. War Resisters' International has in the past brought cases of Turkish COs to the attention of international organisations such as with Halil Savda, whose case we submitted to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and we discussed how to better coordinate this in the future.

WRI will continue its support for conscientious objectors in Turkey as part of our common struggle against war and militarism.