Turkey: New report by Conscientious Objection Association documents ongoing rights violations of conscientious objectors
The Conscientious Objection Association (Turkey) has released a new report on the rights violations of conscientious objectors (COs) in Turkey.
The report, released this Monday, includes in-depth interviews with COs, explains their ongoing cases, and includes recommendations to the Turkish government and to the international mechanisms regarding the issue.
COs in Turkey continue to face 'civil death'
In Turkey, there are thousands of COs who refuse to perform compulsory military service. The right to conscientious objection to military service isn’t recognised and anyone refusing compulsory military service face a lifetime persecution, including continuous arrest warrants and repeated prosecutions amounting to “civil death” – a term being used to describe their exclusion from social, cultural and economic life.
The report “Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Turkey” provides a comprehensive presentation of the rights violations COs are experiencing today. It includes 18 interviews with COs and their lawyers, and a detailed examination of the cases of 85 conscientious objectors.
According to the report, there have been 45 applications to the Constitutional Court of Turkey by COs so far. The report also finds that 85 COs whose cases are included in the report have been fined a total of 575,517 Turkish Liras (approx. 55,815 Euros) altogether.
As being party to both ECHR and ICCPR, Turkey is obliged to recognize the right to conscientious objection to military service as part of its commitments under international law. It’s also Turkey’s obligation according to her own constitution whose Article 24 protects freedom of religion and conscientious, and whose Article 90 recognizes the superiority of international law in matters related to fundamental rights and freedoms when there is a conflict between the national and international law. Yet, the Turkish government insists on not recognizing the right to conscientious objection as military service remains to be compulsory for men as they reach their 20.
The report includes recommendations to the Turkish Government for a legislation for conscientious objection, as well as to the International mechanisms for monitoring human rights violations in Turkey.