Free Mehmet Tarhan!
Gay conscientious objector jailed in Turkey
9 December 2005: International Day of Action
Protest in Philly December 9, 11:30am - 12:30pm
Speak-out & petitioning at the Clothespin, 15th
& Market St.
Followed by participation in activities in
support of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was shot
and beaten 24
years ago (more info below)
The protest in Philadelphia is organized by
Wages Due Lesbians and Payday.
is a gay anarchist “total” conscientious objector – against all wars
and any alternative to military service. He was sentenced to four
years by a military court for “refusing orders”.
Turkey does not recognise conscientious objection and provides no
alternative to military service.
For the Turkish military, homosexuality is an “illness”. Men
applying for exemption on grounds of homosexuality must submit to an
anal examination and often provide a video of sexual intercourse.
is the equivalent of the notorious “virginity test” which the
Turkish police and army have used for decades to judicially rape and
sexually assault women, in particular Kurdish women.
Mehmet has refused to be classified as “ill” because he is gay
and has demanded his right to be a conscientious objector. The
Military Court of Appeal quashed the previous sentence, threatened
judicial rape and ordered a re-trial on 15 December.
The Initiative for Solidarity with Mehmet
12 July, Wages Due Lesbians
and Payday picket the
Turkish embassy in England...
... and in the US...
Wages Due Lesbians
and Payday will
picket the Turkish Airlines in
London, UK and have a
speak-out in Philadelphia
and a picket and speak-out at the Turkish Consulate
in Los Angeles, US
other groups will protest in
Turkey (Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Sivas)
- Finland (Helsinki)
- France (Paris) -
Germany (Frankfurt, Berlin, Mainz, Münster)
- Holland (The Hague)
– Israel (Tel-Aviv) -
Italy (Venice) -
Poland (Warsaw) -
- Serbia (Belgrade)
LET US KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO IN YOUR PART OF THE WORLD
See Payday’s website
Jailed since April, Mehmet Tarhan
has been attacked and tortured by prisoners and guards. He has
been in solitary confinement for refusing the prison’s military
discipline. He has been on hunger strike twice (28 and 34 days)
demanding that his attackers be punished. You can write to him
5. Piyade Egitim Tugayi, Askeri
Cezaevi, Temeltepe – Sivas, Turkey.
An end to the mental and physical torture of Mehmet Tarhan, his
immediate release from prison and discharge from the army;
Recognition by Turkey of conscientious objectors’ rights;
Abolition of Turkish military’s definition of homosexuality as an
illness, requiring anal examination and visual
Email & Fax Blitz
Wherever you are on 9 December, let the Turkish authorities know
that Mehmet is not alone.
Email or fax these demands to:
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
fax: +90 312 417 0476
to your Turkish embassy:
December 9 also marks 24 years since Mumia Abu-Jamal was shot
and severely beaten by Philadelphia police and later railroaded to death
row. International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
(ICFFMAJ) is organizing an afternoon of activities and meetings in
Philadelphia to plan further action to work for Mumia's release. Payday
and Wages Due Lesbians will be participating in those activities and
bringing the movement to support Mehmet to the movement to support
more information, email
firstname.lastname@example.org. We have also invited ICFFMAJ and those supporting
Mumia to participate in the Mehmet day of action. Free
Mumia! - Free Mehmet!
Demanding the right to conscientious objection, not the right to
Mehmet’s case is a signal for the international movement against war
and for the right to conscientious objection. Like many grassroots
people, he wants no part of the “equality” advocated by some in the
lesbian and gay movement: the right to be in the military, that is,
the right to kill and to make war..
“If they 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”.
What conscription is for
Turkish army opens fire,
5 civilians killed 28 injured
My brother Mehmet
A press release from the
dated 18 November
reveals that the Turkish army opened fire on demonstrators in this
the day he was first taken into custody, our life became a true
nightmare and it continues to be.
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.
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
”Mehmet Tarhan will not be a soldier”
(photo: Initiative for Solidarity with Mehmet Tarhan)
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 &
threatening and evicting villagers to make way for profitable dam
projects. This is what Mehmet Tarhan is refusing to do.
DEFENDING OUR RIGHTS
European governments want to use Turkey’s entry into the European
Union to further undermine all our human rights, in Europe and
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
Free Mehmet Tarhan, and all conscientious objectors!
INVEST IN CARING, NOT KILLING!
desperately needed for the campaign in Turkey. Please send cheques
Payday PO BOX 11795
Philadelphia, PA 19101 USA – we will ensure that money gets to his
family and supporters.