Turkey: New Executive Decree threatens conscientious objectors
On 22nd June, the Turkish government issued a new decree law - during the ongoing state of emergency - which allows the immediate conscription of those who were found to be members of, or in relation to, terrorist organisations.
Adding an article to the Military Service law, the decree law numbered 691 says “those who are members or have a relation to terrorist organisations or organisations that participate in actions against the state’s national security … will be taken under arms [sent to perform military service].”
According to some, the new law is targeting those state personnel who were previously dismissed from their positions, such as policeman, by previous state of emergency decree laws. Whereas others emphasise that the vague wording of the law puts any political dissident who hasn't performed his military service yet at risk of forced recruitment.
According to Hulya Ucpinar, human rights lawyer from Turkey and an Executive Committee member of War Resisters' International, with the new decree law, military conscription is being used as a tool of intimidation against political dissidents.
Ucpinar says those who were dismissed by the previous state of emergency decree laws might be the first ones to be targeted. However, she adds, it's clear that the law targets all political dissidents.
According to Ucpinar, the Government might increase surveillance targeting draft evaders, and it would mean that the conditions for both draft evaders and conscientious objectors might get even more difficult.
Davut Erkan, lawyer and a member of Conscientious Objection Association (Turkey), stresses the arbitrary operations of the Government against political dissidents during the state of emergency. It means that in the practice of this current decree law, political dissidents can again arbitrarily be linked to a terrorist organisation without any proper judicial process, and so, face the risk of forced conscription.
Erkan says, those conscientious objectors part of the Kurdish or leftist movements and have made declarations might face the risk of being affected by this law. The Government might arbitrarily link them to an organisation and subject them to forced recruitment.
The practice of the decree law will rely on the regulations set by the Ministry of Defence, which hasn't made any announcement in relation to the decree law yet.
Source: Hurriyet Daily News, New decree law in Turkey imposes military service on terror convicts, 23 June 2017; Gazete Karinca, Son KHK’deki düzenleme: ‘Fişleyerek askere gönderme var, bütün muhalifler etkilenebilir’, 23 June 2017; Gazete Duvar, Hedefte ihraç edilmiş polisler ve akademisyenler mi var?, 23 June 2017; HaberTurk, Yeni Kanun Hükmünde Kararname yayınlandı, 22 June 2017.