VR-DER on the 1st Anniversary of Suruç Massacre

“I don’t want the people I love and care about to be a part of the dirty war the state is fighting. This war doesn’t only kill men, it kills women too. That is why I am declaring my conscientious objection.”
Polen Ünlü, 15 May 2012

“I will not die or kill for anybody and I will not be a soldier of anybody. For a world without wars, nations and borders, for freedom I am listening to my conscience and I refuse military service. Let’s destroy militarism before it destroys our lives.”
Alper Sapan, 15 May 2014

Polen and Alper were killed exactly one year ago on 20 July 2015. They were slaughtered with a bomb which was a part of the war politics they were against. Suruç massacre was etched in memories as one of the bloodiest events happened in Turkey. For us, 20 July 2015 was a date when our two CO friends who had been fighting against violence and war were killed as a result of war politics.

We knew Polen as a woman who resisted against the male dominance in this country which the state fed by violence wants to plunder and we also knew her from the works we did as parts of Conscientious Objectors Platform for Peace and from the press releases we published together against the suspicious soldier deaths: as of Alper, we knew him for organizing a struggle against “the militarism which is trying to destroy our lives.” They set out to Kobane in order to increase the living hopes of a society which had been being killed in wars; they left us as a result of the same war politics in Suruç massacre.

After Suruç massacre, bombs went on exploding in the middle of our lives with the increasing war and violence that is organized in every aspects of social life. War, which is shaped according the politics serving the benefits of the government has become the most concrete violence of the country we live in. After Suruç, countless people were killed in bombings in Ankara, İstanbul and other places along with the increasing intensity of the war.

After the recent military coup attempt, the most unforgettable scenes of the militarism that has been being organized for months are being etched to memories. We see and feel the militarist dominance of the army with the tanks in the streets and the militarist dominance of government with the calls to streets.

This process that the army started with the claim to “seize control” of the country is now going on as the is government institutionalizing the violence and militarism. The militarist dominance, which had already been everywhere of the country we are living in, is increasing even more by the violence which is being legitimized by calling it “fight against military coup.”

We conscientious objectors defend peace against war and freedom against dominance. We are keeping on resisting for a world without war which Polen and Alper who were killed exactly one year ago struggled for.

In these days when we are presumably experiencing the militarist culture, that we are desired to be left stuck in, most; we are refusing wars, deaths and massacres as Alper and Polen did. Here we repeat again; in order not to die, kill or spill blood of fellow citizens in wars of interest of the government, REFUSE, RESIST, SAY NO, DON’T GO INTO THE ARMY!

Conscientious Objection Association of Turkey
20 July 2016