τζιαι η πρόσφατη παρέμβαση του συντρόφου Μουράτ Κανατλί στο Ευρωπαικό Κοινοβούλιο
Anti-militarism and conscientious objection on the ceasefire line
Murat Kanatlı’s presentation at public hearing in the European Parliament on CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION IN EUROPE on 25 May 2011
As you know, conscientious objection is a basic right. There are only a few countries in the Council of Europe who do not accept this, and Turkey is one of them. The Republic of Cyprus pretends to accept it, but makes it impossible to exercise in practice.
So if I should say it briefly, the Republic of Cyprus recognises the right to conscientious objection for conscripts, but an application has to be made to the Ministry of Defence, and not to a civilian authority. The right is also not available to serving conscripts or professional soldiers and the length of the alternative service is punitive. In the northern part of Cyprus, which is under the control of the Republic Turkey, the right to conscientious objection is not recognised at all.
Although the northern part of Cyprus has conscription law of its own as if it were an independent state, the reality is that Turkey’s law on military service and the logic of this law are applied, and therefore the right to conscientious objection is not recognized. Also the so called Turkish army’s chief commander is appointed from Ankara, by The General Staff of the Republic of Turkey.
In spite of the fact that huge amounts of money is spent and intensive militarist propaganda is made in order to emphasize the “sacred” nature of doing military service in all of Cyprus, Cypriot youth do everything they can to avoid military service.
In the south, the Republic of Cyprus, military service is compulsory right after high school, while in the north there is the condition/alternative of going on to higher education. Greek Cypriot youth use medical reports to avoid compulsory military service, while Turkish Cypriot youth prolong their period of education as much as they can. Currently, nobody knows the statistics about higher education among Turkish Cypriot youth. These youngsters apply for higher education courses without even thinking about what use that will be or they go abroad.
In reality, Cypriot youth are going AWOL [absent without leave, escaping from military service], but they are choosing to do this in an indirect way rather than a direct challenge.
The use of the right to conscientious objection is an important tool in the anti-militarist struggle. Conscientious objection is not simply going AWOL, but a challenge. It is different from what people who indirectly refuse to go into the army do, because it is an act of direct opposition to the regime on the basis of beliefs. The conscientious objector declares on the basis that everyone is equal, that he is willing to undertake alternative public service which is civilian, just and acceptable. In other words, his attitude is not to escape, but to volunteer to public service.
In Cyprus, however, it is difficult even to discuss this idea.
The Initiative for Conscientious Objection has not gained mass support in Cyprus. The conscientious objection argument has been accepted in Republic of Cyprus only formally as a result of external pressure, and we know from similar examples that it is difficult even to discuss anti-militarism in conditions of ceasefire.
There is nothing surprising in this. The main reason is that the institutions in Cyprus perceive military service as a means of education to create militants for the regime. Military service is an important tool in the creation of individuals who obey commands and accept the superior-inferior relationship. Military service is also a school for the reproduction and unquestioning acceptance of chauvinism and enmity. That is why the rulers in Cyprus see military service not only as a tool of war, but also a school, a means of education. That is why compulsory military service is sacred for them.
The Initiative for Conscientious Objection set up in the northern part of Cyprus fulfils an important function and calls for objection and discussion. Two big meetings in December 2007 and January 2008 show that a group of people, maybe not very large but certainly very determined, has set out on this path. After 2009, the Initiative is more silent because of internal problems, but it is active among anti-militarist activists and solidarity and informal meetings and actions continue…
The most important figure about conscientious objection in all of Cyprus, the person who refused to go into the army for non-religious reasons was Salih Askeroğlu. On 24 September 1993 Askeroğlu refused to do military service on the basis that his wife was Greek Cypriot and he said “If I join the armed forces who will be my enemies? My wife? My wife’s relatives?”
Fifteen years later, the discussion is re-opened by the Initiative for Conscientious Objection …
Anti-militarism on the ceasefire line is difficult, but not impossible. Indeed every anti-militarist struggle is a conscientious challenge against weapons and violence.
It is now time to spread this challenge, and to do so in the whole of Cyprus…
Because of that, as the Initiative for Conscientious Objection, we have already declared and it has been published in Kibris Newspaper, the top selling newspaper in the northern part of Cyprus, that we will not participate in any kind of war in Cyprus. The practical result of this is that some of us since 2007 are starting to reject to join for reservist call ups (seferberlik) but because of our tactic, we did not declare our conscientious objection, we are waiting for the court case procedure. Only last week, they called me for a statement at the police station about this issue, so it means that this court procedure will start soon…
Our lawyer prepared a report titled “the right to conscientious objection in the northern part of Cyprus” in May 2010 and nothing has changed since then. In order to save time we have disseminate this already to you and we are ready to answer your questions about this issue…
Situation of Conscientious Objection in the Republic of Cyprus
However in the Republic of Cyprus the issue continuous to develop, sometimes in a negative way, sometimes in a positive way…
The Republic of Cyprus is one of only 6 of the 27 EU member states (Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland and Greece), conscripting men into obligatory military service of 24 months. The duration of the alternative social service for conscientious objectors is punitive – 9 months longer (37.5% longer).
The right to conscientious objection was recognized only in 2007 but it does not meet international standards. Both the old and the new law of 2011 leave open the possibility for the conscientious objector to serve alternative military service (unarmed) in military units instead of only alternative social service. The right for alternative social service is removed for the conscientious objector with an exemption on medical grounds, as well as for all those exempt from military service on medical grounds.
Application to gain CO status, with the required supporting documents, is made to the military services and a Special Committee examines this application (after examination of the Physical Condition of the applicant by another Committee). This Special Committee comprises of two professors of higher education with a specialization in philosophy, social or political sciences or psychology, one law officer of the Law Office of the Republic and two higher officers of the Military Force, one of the Conscription Office and one of the Health Department of the Army. The decision of the Special Committee is passed on to the Minister of Defence who has the final say and if his decision is opposite to that of the Special Committee, it has to be justified in writing. The Special Committee may call the applicant for an oral interview, but can also decide without interview.
Alternative social service is performed in posts of the public services sector and consists of serving in services of public utilities or undertaking public duties within the field social care and environmental protection.
Several groups and individuals are getting more interested in issues of Conscientious Objection (Falies alternative media, anarchist groups and individuals).
εξεκινησε χαλαρα κατα τες 6, με πανκ, χιπ-χοπ και λλιο ροκ/σκα, κυριως ελληνικης σκηνης (DIY). εγιναν στενσιλ και γκραφιτι. εκρεμαστηκαν πανω που εγραφαν «ΣΑΜΠΟΤΑΖ ΣΤΗΝ ΣΤΡΑΤΙΩΤΙΚΗ ΜΗΧΑΝΗ» και «ΟΥΤΕ ΣΤΑ 18, ΟΥΤΕ ΣΤΑ 100! ΟΥΤΕ ΜΙΑ ΩΡΑ ΣΤΟ ΣΤΡΑΤΟ».
υπηρχαν σκαπουλες (περιοδικα) καθως και ενα εντυπο που τυπωθηκε για την εκδηλωση, που περιειχε δηλωσεις αρνητων στρατευσης απο ελλαδα/τουρκια. αργοτερα εφεραν και οι αντιρρησιες απο τα βορεια κι αλλα εντυπα, κι ενα χαρτη με τις χωρες της ευρωπης και πως αντιμετωπιζει η καθε μια την αντιρρηση συνειδησης/αρνηση στρατευσης.
κατα τις 8 ξεκινησαμε την κουβεντα. εγινε μικρη εισηγηση απο συντροφο της σκαπουλας και μετα μιλησαν λιγο οι αντιρρησιες απο τα βορεια. ειπωθηκαν διαφορα, κι ειπαμε να βρεθουμε αλλο μια φορα να τα πουμε ιδιαιτερα σε πιο πραχτικα θεματα.
εμιλησεν τζιαι ενας βετερανος του ’74, τζιαι εμιλησε εναντια στο μισος και τον εθνικισμο.
στη συζητηση συμμετειχαν νομιζω πανω απο 60-70 ατομα αλλα δεν εμιλησαν πολλοι, κατι που νομιζω πρεπει να δουμε στο μελλον – ενναταν καλα να εκφραζουνταν παραπανω αποψεις.
μετα κατα τες 9 αρκεψεν η συναυλια με τους ΚΑΦΡΙΚΕΣ, οι οποιοι ειπαν απο προυντον ως γωγου σε δικες τους συνθεσεις, εγω εγουσταρα τους πολλα, επαιξαν πολλη μουσικη οι συντροφοι.
ε κατα τες 10:30 εγινε ενα πανκ λαιβ πολυ αυθορμητα αφου ουτε καν ειχαμε καμει προβες μαζι! τελοσπαντων απο σχολια που επιασα ηταν καλη φαση.
γενικα στο χωρο του φεστιβαλ ειχε συνεχεια πολυ κοσμο, και περασαν καποιες εκατονταδες κατα τη διαρκεια.
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