grant gays the ‘right’ to do military service, I won’t be going
around saying ‘hey let gay people go do their military service.’
They shouldn’t go. Heterosexuals shouldn’t go either”.
My brother Mehmet
by Emine Tarhan
Since the day he was
first taken into custody, our life became a true nightmare and it
continues to be.
My other brother is doing compulsory service in the same military that
imprisoned and tortured Mehmet, and he doesn’t know what to do.
My mother suffers from heart trouble, diabetes, high cholesterol and
high blood pressure. We hid Mehmet’s imprisonment from her until the
first hearing. The first time she saw him was two months later during
the second trial. Mehmet could barely stand up because of the torture
and couldn’t move his neck. She was not allowed to visit him or hug
him. My mother cannot travel because of her health problems and
therefore cannot go see him.
As long as he is not in solitary confinement and there is no ban on
visiting, I go to Sivas every week. I leave Istanbul on Tuesday and
the trip takes 14 hours. The next day I meet with him for seven hours
behind the wire fence, then I leave Sivas in the evening.
My mother, Mehmet and I, used to live in Istanbul.
I had a business. Mehmet was working too. But increasingly I have been
unable to give myself to work. Also I hadn’t been able to leave Sivas
for the first three months because of all that was going on there. His
life threatened by other inmates and detainees in the prison, the
physical and psychological repression of the prison administration,
and the hunger strike he began as a response to all these, changed the
course of our lives. I had to close down my business because I could
not attend to it anymore, my mother and I were evicted from our house
and had to move back to Iskenderun.
Every time I meet him I am upset, saddened and angered because he is
What conscription is for
Turkish army opens fire -
5 civilians killed 28 injured
A press release from the mayor of
dated 18 November reveals that the Turkish army opened fire on
demonstrators in this Kurdish town,
killing Islam Bartin, Sefer Bor, Giyasettin Avci, Ersin Menges,
Abdulhaluk Geylani and wounding 28 other people.
About 30,000 people had gathered to protest “government terrorism”, in
particular the bombing of a bookshop in the town of
Şemdinli on 9 November by undercover military.
”Mehmet Tarhan will not be
(photo: Initiative for Solidarity with Mehmet Tarhan)
In Turkey, the army is everywhere: in the towns, on the countryside,
at innumerable roadblocks. But
are 350,000-500,000 men who are refusing conscription. No one knows
how many are Kurds who refuse to serve in a military that attacks
their own people, torturing, raping and killing women, children & men,
threatening and evicting villagers to make way for profitable dam
This is what Mehmet Tarhan is refusing to do.
European governments want to use Turkey’s entry into the
European Union to further undermine all our human rights, in
Europe and globally
Turkey has been the
most faithful US stooge since the cold war; the US provided the
majority of the armaments Turkey used in its genocidal campaign
against the Kurds in the 1990s. We will not allow Turkey to be
added to Bush’s allies in Europe.
Along with Mehmet, his
family and supporters, we are demanding and defending our human
rights to conscientious objection, to refuse to kill, to sexual
choice, to live in a world free of war and dictatorship. Free
Mehmet Tarhan, and all conscientious objectors!
INVEST IN CARING,