As the Gilets Jaunes movement continues, we republish this article by Paul Cudenec of the Shoal...
As a Conscientious Objector, Halil Karapaşaoğlu faces the possibility of going to prison. The Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus calls upon all anti-militarist and peace activists to show their solidarity and presence in the coming days and leading up to 3rd January 2019 when a decision will be announced for his case at the Military Court at 13:00.
Vicdani retçi Halil Karapaşaoğlu’nun cezaevine girme ihtimalinin olduğu böylesi bir anda, Kıbrıs’ta Vicdani Ret İnisiyatifi olarak, tüm anti-militaristlerinin ve barış aktivistlerinin, 3 Ocak, Perşembe günü, 13:00’de Askeri Mahkemede görülecek olan davalarında ve o tarihe kadar olan süreçte dayanışmasını bekleriz…
Καθώς ο Αντιρρησίας Συνείδησης Halil Karapaşaoğlu βρίσκεται αντιμέτωπος με την πιθανότητα φυλάκισης, η Πρωτοβουλία για την Αντίρρηση Συνείδησης στην Κύπρο καλεί όλους τους αντι-μιλιταριστές και ακτιβιστές ειρήνης να δείξουν την αλληλεγγύη και την παρουσία τους τις επόμενες μέρες και με κορύφωση τις 3 Ιανουαρίου 2019 όταν θα ανακοινωθεί η απόφαση για την υπόθεση του στο Στρατιωτικό Δικαστήριο στις 13:00.
Group of the Conscientious Objectors: https://www.facebook.com/kibristavicdaniret/?eid=ARDwpQEiSQPIXpVHgo3VSoqqrJsgRiGfPh_fD1L3dQDbPnGGo3jLcg4emu21BCq0sunJDd16erKfdti2
Solidarity Demonstration: https://www.facebook.com/events/283814665816425/
Your Right to Conscientious Objection
Translated from Greek
In the past days there has been a circulation of videos on different social media platforms of Cypriots expressing their solidarity towards the Turkish Cypriot military Conscientious Objector and peace activist Halil Karapaşaoğlu, who will stand in front of a ‘military court’ on the 3rd of January. Murat Kanatli, a military Conscientious Objector and member of the Administrative Board of the European Network of Conscientious Objectors told the newspaper ‘Haravgi’ that the response to the solidarity callout exceeded what he expected there to be. Within 48 hours of the call out, the ‘Voice of the Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus’ has uploaded 50 videos in which individuals and activists expressed their solidarity both towards Halil Karapaşaoğlu, who faces a persecution of up to 4 years in prison, and every other conscientious objector that is facing persecution in Cyprus.
Murat Kanatli told ‘Haravgi’ that the struggle that is carried out by these conscientious objectors seeks to push for the recognition of the right to conscientiously object to military services, which would be a step towards the demilitarisation of the island.He noted that most of the T/Cypriot parties have endorsed their message in their pre-election campaigns, however now they all remain silent. He furthermore pointed out that times have changed. To be a conscientious objector in the 90s was very controversial and taboo whereas now it seems that conscientious objectors are not as marginalised by society as they were previously. Furthermore, Murat says that there has been support by some media agencies, however for political reasons, some of the agencies and many editors have, in different ways,distanced themselves from this movement.
The Republican Turkish Party spoke in parliament about conscientious objectors and proposed that an alternative service option be provided. It noted that it should not be overlooked that there are Greek Cypriots that believe in brotherhood and do not see the T/Cypriots as enemies. In the Republic of Cyprus, being a conscientious objector has been recognised by law. However, M. Kanatli pointed out that the provisions of being a military objector in the Republic of Cyprus are still punitive as objectors are called to serve 19 months of alternative service instead of 14 for the military service.
With all Cypriots, the Initiative is struggling so as to change the law and make the current situation fairer for objectors.
Original text by: Anna Misiaouli
Republic of Cyprus: Southern Cyprus
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC): Northern Cyprus
In North Cyprus, conscientious objectors do not have the option to not do the service, even if someone is unfit to serve due to different mental health disabilities. Objectors express their positions openly and face persecutions such as being sent to prison. Right now, a comrade of ours, Halil Karapaşaoğlu, an objector, has to stand in front of a military court on the 3rd of January. Since the North does not have a law on objectors, they take it case by case. The state navigates its position politically rather than creating a law. For example, four years ago the Northern state imprisoned one of our comrades for 10 days.
In South Cyprus the military service is for 14 months. After that, men have to retrain and serve at least one day a year until they retire. The discourse behind the Cypriot state is that every man is a soldier for life. It is common for objectors to pretend to have different mental health disabilities so as to object the military service. There are a lot of minuscule problems that one faces when objecting, such as for example every time one leaves the country they have to get military permission, objectors can never work in the civil service, they are not allowed to own weapons such as for hunting, and have to go for re-evaluation once a year until the age of 45. The majority of people know that this is the process for military objectors in the south side, the state does not have to deal with any radical discourses emerging from the conscientious objectors as objectors cannot say that they faked their evaluation tests on platforms as the state will have an upper hand in portraying the objectors as mere liars rather than politically motivated actors. In this way conscientious objectors remain in the shadows. Functionally, conscientious objection in the South has been to a certain level successful as the state has reduced the conscription sentence from 26 months to 14.
This article was written by Plan C member Aristidis Shukuroglou