Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict: Signed (1 Jul 2008). Ratified (2 Jul 2010).
Compulsory recruitment age: 18.
Voluntary recruitment age: 17.
Duration of compulsory military service: 24 months.
Conscientious objection to military service recognised for conscripts: Yes, since 1992.
Duration of civilian service: 33 months.
Conscientious objection recognised for professional soldiers: No.
Military expenditure: 2.0% of GDP (data 2009).
1) The voluntary recruitment age is less than 18.
2) There is no right to conscientious objection for serving conscripts and professional soldiers.
3) The civilian service is administered by the Ministry of Defence and it has punitive duration (37,5% longer than the military service).
1) Stop the voluntary recruitment of persons aged under 18.
2) Recognise the right to conscientious objection for serving conscripts and professional soldiers.
3) Make a genuinely civilian service (not under the Ministry of Defence) and of equal duration to the military one.
Notes: Cyprus had been divided since 1974. The northern part, named THE TURKISH REPUBLIC OF NORTHERN CYPRUS, remained occupied by Turkish armed forces and was not recognized internationally as a separate state from the Republic of Cyprus. The Security Council of the UN met on 17 and 18 November 1983 and adopted Resolution 541 which described the attempt to create “TRNC” as “legally invalid”, called for the withdrawal of the Declaration of Independence, and asked all countries not to recognise the new republic. A buffer zone patrolled by the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) separated the two parts. The compulsory recruitment age is 19 and the voluntary recruitment age is 17. The length of the compulsory military service is 12 or 15 months.
There are no legal provisions for conscientious objection, so conscientious objectors are prosecuted. Turkish-Cypriot conscientious objector Murat Kanatli has declared his conscientious objection since 2009 and stated that he will not join any military training sessions or preparations for war in Cyprus. The antimilitarist activist faces a possible prison sentence if found guilty of draft dodging. Murat Kanatli has completed military service and is considered a reservist in the Turkish Cypriot army. Therefore he must appear at a mandatory military training session once a year until he is 40. However he has been refusing to attend since 2009 for reasons of conscience. Failure to do so usually results in a fine, but refusal to pay the fine or repeated non-attendance can end in imprisonment. The trial of Murat Kanatli started on 14 June 2011, continued on 5 July 2011 and was postponed to 26 July 2011.