Press Statement, 28 March 2007
The Conscientious Objection Platform
To the Press and Public Opinion
A group of our 30 friends from The Conscientious Objection Platform had been stopped by the police at the city entrance due to risk of "attack" during the symbolic walking, when they were going to Corlu from Istanbul in order to watch the trial of Human Rights Association Istanbul Branch office administrator and the CO Halil Savda in Corlu Military Court on 15 March 2007.
They've been forced to go back to the bus, drive to the court building and were taken under the police “blockage”. In the meantime, an "offensive group" with verbal aggression appeared and since they didn't meet any hindrance, they easily overrun the blockage and attempted a lynch against our friends.
The police, who were supposed to prevent the aggressors, joined them by using pepper gas against our friends and by beating them and causing some of the people from our group to get injured.
Despite all these incidents, the administrators of groups like the Veteran's Society, Turkish Nationalists and the county commissioner of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have spoken to local press and didn't hesitate to use expressions as "we already measured their shrouds, we wait now." and openly threat the people who will attend the court on 29th March.
As we all know, racist aggression and lynch attempts exist all over the country under various reasons and openly for long time. These are responsible of lynch attempts and attacks made to the young people in Trabzon which protested against F-type cells, to the homosexuals in Bursa which wanted to demonstrate, to the authors and the intellectuals which are tried from their thoughts and beliefs, and to the conscientious objectors in Corlu. Of course these aggressors are always tolerated and welcomed by the police forces as they have formerly declared to the media. These aggressors also murdered Hrant Dink, who was targeted just because he was Armenian.
On March 29, there will be an addition probably to the 15.5 month imprisonment of the CO Halil Savda, which was given by Military Court at 15th March. And it is a fact, that these penalties have a risk of a "lifetime imprisonment". As he did by now, Savda face the "solitary confinement" everyday in the military prison due to disobedience to the military orders.
Although ECHR has found Turkey guilty on 24.01.2006 on the case of the CO O.Murat Ulke, and even though it has been a year after this sentence, no step has been taken in order to make necessary legal changes. Furthermore, as seen on Halil's case, they didn't give up the understanding of punishing a person for the second time on the same case.
As The Conscientious Objection Platform, we here announce that we will not be dreaded by this aggression and with our friends, avoiding any agitation and violation as usual, will attend to the trial on 29th march at Corlu Military Court in order to show that the CO Halil Savda is not alone.