of Stephen Funk in support of Mehmet
Whom It May Concern,
I am writing in deepest support and solidarity of Mehmet Tarhan, who has
been held in custody since April 8th in the military prison of Sivas.
It has been brought to my attention, as well as to the attention of
countless people around the world, that Mr. Tarhan has been detained in
deplorable and inexcusable manner and action. Specifically I am referring
to the vicious acts of brutality carried out by other prisoners but
ultimately brought on with the encouragement and allowance of prison
guards who incited the violence by telling prisoners he was "a
As Mehmet Tarhan's trial is underway the entire process will be
scrutinized by people around the world.
If justice were truly to be served Mr. Tarhan would not even be
facing trial, but as it is those who have carried out and encouraged
violence against him must be held accountable.
Anything less would be outrageous and irresponsible.
As a conscientious objector and a gay man who served a 6-month prison
sentence in military prison for publicly refusing to participate
whatsoever in the war, I have an especially strong connection with what
Mehmet is going through.
Although my situation was not justified or ideal I certainly was
not put through what he has been put through, and he has not even been
Unless his trial results in immediate release from prison, complete
recognition of his conscientious objector status, and total discharge from
military duty, thousands will rally against the injustice that has been
When I was serving my prison sentence I received thousands of letters of
support from around the world including letters from Turkey.
If Mehmet is unjustly sent to prison after his trial, he too will
receive worldwide support and his safety will be of the utmost concern.
To him and to those who surround him I offer this quote by Martin
Luther King Jr;
"Cowardice asks the question - is it safe? Expediency asks the
question - is it politic? Vanity asks the question - is it popular? But
conscience asks the question - is it right? And there comes a time when
one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular
but one must take it because it is right."
Mehmet Tarhan has already taken the position that is right, now it is up
to you to decide whether or not to do so as well.
In Peace, Stephen Funk