EBCO calls for the release of the Turkish-Cypriot conscientious objector Haluk Selam Tufanli

International day of action: Tuesday 9 December 2014

The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO) condemns the unacceptable and anachronistic practice of the Turkish-Cypriot authorities to prosecute and imprison conscientious objectors to military service.

EBCO calls for the immediate release of 31-year-old conscientious objector Haluk Selam Tufanli and for the full recognition of the right to conscientious objection to military service for conscripts, reservists and professional members of the armed forces, in line with European and international standards.

“EBCO, together with the War Resisters’ International, calls for an international day of action in solidarity with Haluk Selam Tufanli on Tuesday 9 December 2014. We encourage not only our member organisations but also other human rights organisations and youth organisations to take action in order to protest against the illegal imprisonment of this courageous young man”, Friedhelm Schneider, EBCO’s President stated today.

On 4 December 2014, Turkish Cypriot conscientious objector Haluk Selam Tufanlı was sentenced to 10 days in prison for objecting to participate in the annual one-day compulsory military training in the northern part of Cyprus on the basis of his conscientious objection. Haluk Selam Tufanli refused to participate in the reservist call up in 2011 and has been in an ongoing trial since 5th November 2013. The military court in Lefkoşa/Nicosia (territory of northern Cyprus) found him guilty of ‘noncompliance with the mobilization call’.

In the northern part of Cyprus the military service and the annual reservist service are compulsory for male citizens above 18 years old. The militarisation of the island is not limited to the compulsory military service and reservist service; the civilians are being tried before military courts, the police is under the control of the Turkish army, there are lessons taught by soldiers at schools, the cities and rural areas are under the direct physical invasion of the Turkish army for the last 40 years.

The right to refuse military service for reasons of conscience is inherent in the notion of freedom of thought, conscience and religion as laid down in a number of international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights to which Turkey is a party, meaning it can be applied extraterritorially to the territory of northern Cyprus.

You can join our facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/377502932425859.

Please send a protest e-mail to the Turkish Cypriot authorities here: http://www.wri-irg.org/node/24202. Please also send letters of protest to the Turkish embassy in your country (Turkey is the country directly responsible for the human rights violations in the northern part of Cyprus following the Turkish invasion in 1974).

EBCO press contacts:

Friedhelm SCHNEIDER, EBCO’s President, +49 152 044 776 75, schneider@frieden-umwelt-pfalz.de

Murat KANATLI, EBCO Board Member, Representative in Cyprus, +35 799 896 675, muratkanatli@yahoo.com