Turkey: 14 More Conscientious Objectors

At the end of Conscientious Objection Week, 14 people declared their conscientious objections following the march from Tünel to Taksim Square.

At the end of Conscientious Objection Week, conscientious objectors and anti-militarists came together at Tunel district and marched to Taksim Square. Following the march and the press statement, 14 people declared their conscientious objections.

The group came together in front of Tarık Zafer Tunaya Cultural Center and marched to Taksim Square. They shouted slogans including "do not join the army, do not shed your brother's blood", "reject, resist, say no, do not join the army", "conscientious objection for peace", "everybody is born as a baby", "no one is born as a soldier", "militarism kills in both war and peace". During the march the group received both reactions and supports from the people standing by. Several street musicians stopped playing to support the demonstrators by applauding.

Slogans vs slogans

Although some groups showed their support to the conscientious objectors, some small groups protested them by shouting "every Turk is born as a soldier" slogans against the "everyone is born as a baby" slogans of the marchers.

The protesting group got crowded after a while shouting "Each Turk is born as a soldier", "Martyrs do not die" slogans.

With the growing protest and tension, plain-clothes policemen arrived and 2 riot police midibuses began accompanying the march.

"You are able to march here thanks to our soldiers at barracks" a woman shouted.

"We are alienating people from the military service and we announce our conscientious objections"

The group made a press statement as they arrived to Taksim Square.

"May 15 is recognized as the International Day on Conscientious Objection during the International Conscientious Objectors meeting in July, 1993. The conscientious objectors of Turkey organized their first protest after conscientious objector Osman Murat Ülke was arrested and since then we continue doing so."

"We had a week full of various activities in recognition of the International Day on Conscientious Objection. We talked about the effects of war on children, we looked at the conscientious objection from an Islamic point of view, discussed the Article 318 of "alienating people from the military service" and the the legal framework of conscientious objection"

"We talked about the "suspicious deaths of soldiers" at barracks, which actually are murders, discussed "the militarism at school" with the young conscientious objectors from high schools and the effects of war on women at the panel discussion organized by conscientious objector women."

"We believe in a life of peace so we declare our conscientious objections against militarism, against the war and against spilling blood of our brothers"

"Among the 47 members of the Council of Europe, only Turkey, along with Azerbaijan, refuses to recognize conscientious objection. The people, who want peace, are sentenced with 'alienating people from military service' charges under Article 318. We know that our state depends on wars for its existance."

"Therefore we, as the people of this region, painfully living the cruelty of war, raise our voice against war, alienate people from military service and declare our conscientious objections.(EKN)

Source: Bianet.org, 22 May 2012, Tuesday