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(en) Turkey, Invitation to "Militourism Festival"*

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
From IAMI (Istanbul Antimilitarist Initiative) <iami@savaskarsitlari.org>
Date Wed, 24 Mar 2004 01:36:45 +0200

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On this International Conscientous Objectors' Day, which has been adopted as
the 15th of May simply because the calendar had no other occasion marked on
that date, we have decided to organize "The First Traditional Militourism
Festival". The festival will include a tour, a concert and exhibition. In
the tour, the militarist symbols of Istanbul/Turkey will be introduced and
explained from a "historical and architectural" perspective by our "guides".
In the evening we'll have an exhibition where the thoroughly and
consistently ignored COs themselves will be exhibited! They will be telling
about their own stories, introducing themselves, and all this in a very
elegant coctail party!


-Militarism is in every aspect of our lives. It shapes all the institutions
that surround us: School, family, army, commercial enterprises, political
parties, and even the political groups who consider themselves as against
the system... Almost all of them have hierarchical structures that feed from
as well as feed into militarism. To give and take orders is a part of our
daily lives. Every day we pass by a militarist statue. The ideology that
builds those statues is directing our lives... The whole world is
continuously arming itself and we are forced to accept tyranny and violence
as the only solution to our problems. We believe it is possible to expose
what we are faced with and to scar the charisma of militarist symbols and

-A conscientous objector is faced with the risk of lifetime imprisonment on
the charge of "disobeying orders"... The objectors are trying to make their
voices heard despite this risk, but they are either treated as "the fools of
the village" or as "hollow men". We want to create a public awareness for
the concept of conscientous objection and make it visible fact. Call on to
hundreds of thousands of de facto objectors (those who run away from
military service) to stop living as fugitives, turn conscientous objection &
total objection into an ordinary event, take it out on the streets and bring
it into everybody's life.

-We want to draw attention to the close connections between people who are
not necessarily associated with the concept of "conscientious objection" or
are not "wanted" by the military: Women, gays, the disabled, the "medically
unfit" or individuals who have been released after "their" military service.
We want to question and shake off the submission to the idea of "fate" that
so many people seek comfort in only to find a fake and a temporary one,
particularly those who have been hurt physically or mentally or both ways
during military service or war.

- We wish the participants engage in lively debating and the energy to be
kept going during and after the festival.

-The NATO summit (in Istanbul) is approaching... Maybe it would be good to
let people know that there are some who do not welcome militarist

-We want to make our activity a less boring one so that we can have fun!

IAMI (Istanbul Antimilitarist Initiative) and KECI (a group that seeks to
expose heterosexism)


Our mili-tour will begin at 11:00 a.m. in front of the Haydarpasa Train
Station with a convoy of buses and will continue with visits to the other

11:00 Haydarpasa Train Station
Street Theater: The welcoming of objectors
You know how the soldiers are sent to their military service in a ceremonial
manner in Turkey. The streets all turn into a theater hall and with drums
and flutes, men leave their homes and their will power behind. So, we wanted
to look at this ceremony from the other way round by "welcoming" objectors
at the train station .

GATA (Gulhane Military Medical Academy) and Selimiye Quarters (1st Command
GATA, which is a quality control center for human raw material, has been in
service for 150 years with its foul and fit human categorizations and with
an expert staff that specializes in re-processing the "raw material" for
use. It is even more interesting that it is the only state-founded
institution of gay porn archive... (for those who may not know: Gay men can
be asked to bring photographs or videos of their sexual activities as proof
of their gay identity!) The Selimiye headquarters, casting its huge shadow
over recent Turkish history with its military courts and trials (military
jurisdiction?!) And dungeons hasn't lost anything of its architectural
glamour and dignity while having taken both from human life within and
connected to it. We will stop by GATA to offer them a basket full of apples
so that they can perform their expertise on selecting the foul and the fit.

Nurol Group of Companies
Excuse us? Did you say they are civilians? Well, this corporation produces
and sells death machines as part of their "civilian activities". We are
going to leave a piggy bank shaped tank filled with coins in front of the
company building.
Our guides will also inform the mili-tourists about two other places that we
shall pass by but not stop: The piggy bank of militarism, "Oyakbank" and the
Military Academy Headquarters, producing "militarizing enzymes". (For
further information please look at briefings, company identification tags,
newspaper identification tags)

Besiktas Port Square
Irritating Concert: Antimilitarist Voices Music Company
We chose this place for our 4th stop. Because it is a park exhibiting death
machines and it is also very close to Naval Forces Museum and the Recruiting
Office. We are going to have fun, do a "chaotic belly dance show" and sing
folksongs that suit the meaning and importance of this day and shake off the
invisibility powder that they spread over conscientious objectors.

Tepebasi Tuyap
Symbolic "Rifle Crack-ing Ceremony", declarations and objection statements

Telephone: 0090 546 712 79 31 - Mehmet Tarhan
E-mail: iami@savaskarsitlari.org - Ugur Yorulmaz


First of all, this festival is a nonviolent activity.

All antimilitarists are invited to participate. While there is no such thing
as a participation fee, any contribution that you can make would make us

It is important that all participants get in contact with us prior to the
tour. (Because the tour is going to be made with a convoy of private buses,
we need to know the exact number of participants so that we can arrange
enough seats) We can help participants who could not find accomodation if
they can contact us early.

We are planning to have two general meetings, the first on April 11th and
the second on May 9th. We feel that it would be very useful if those people
and organizations that take part in the festival discuss their proposed
strategies for dealing with blocking, arrest or any other type of violence
that may happen during the festival before they come to those meetings.

Those individuals and organizations who would like to participate with a
declaration and those who are not going to able to participate in the
festival but would like to send their supporting messages, need to send
their texts to us by April 10th, 2004 at the latest. All texts -without
exceptions- will be translated to various languages, and be published in an
edited volume.

The exhibition is going to take place on the evening of the tour as a
separate activity. Its time and place has not been determined yet.


- Did you make a legal application?

- But they are not going to allow you to do such a thing... What will happen
if they use violence against you?
We said we are nonviolent but we didn't say we won't make a fuss! If any one
of us is taken into custody, or if we are blocked or if violence is used
against us, we plan to create a scandal out of it in every possible
nonviolent way.

-So you are against military service and you are arranging a festival, but
who is going to defend the country?
Let us buy you a drink and have a long talk about this.

-How many people are you?
10-15 people have contributed to the organization of the festival. Our
target for the day of the festival is hundreds of people.

-Who is your leader?
As a famous Turkish song goes: "The world is a lie, and it is a big

-What happens if you are taken into custody?
Many times a prime minister and finally once the president S. Demirel said
on one occasion:
"As if there was gasoline in the country and we drank it!
* [Ed. Note: An antiaouthoritarian initiative.]

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