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(en) Turkey, Mehmet Loves Peace/Baris* Freedom for Conscientious/Total Objector Mehmet Tarhan..! (tr)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 15 Apr 2005 07:43:24 +0200 (CEST)

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Mehmet Tahran, a gay and a conscientious/total objector
in Turkey, was taken into custody by police on April 8,
2005, in Izmir where he went to work in a book fair. He
was handed over to the recruiting office and then to a
gendarmarie outpost. Because he continues his disobedience,
he is now being kept in a cell in a military prison.
Mehmet Tahran is a gay and an anarchist, who declared
his conscientious objection on October 27, 2001 in
the Ankara Human Rights Association. “War is a crime
against humanity. I am therefore determined not to
support any kind of war and to strive for the removal
of all causes of war.” Since then, without hiding
himself or his address, he has continued his civil
disobedience against war and militarism. We are
extremely concerned that Mehmet Tahran, who has
previously declared that he would never serve the
war-machine, including the compulsory military
service, was taken into custody and has since been
kept in a cell during such a tense period when racist
and ultra-nationalist discourses are on the rise in

Military Service in Turkey

There is compulsory military service in Turkey.
There is no right for conscientious objection. Because
the objectors refuse to perform compulsory military
service, their civil resistance is responded to with
arrest and imprisonment. The Turkish Armed Forces see
homosexuality as a disorder, removing gay officers
from their officers and preparing reports on gay
soldiers. Homosexuals who are labeled by a report
entitled “Psycho-Sexual Disorder: Homosexuality” are
subject to spiritual and material discrimination and
their rights in social and professional life are
violated. Among all NATO countries, only Turkey’s army
sees homosexuality as a disorder. In Turkey,
anarchists and Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to be

Militarist Culture in Turkey
There has always been sexism and homophobia in Turkey,
a country with an all-pervading culture of masculinity
and soldiery. Militarist organizations have always
looked down on homosexuals, especially when it’s about
military service, labeled them with filing systems,
making their life unbearable. Military organization is
defined as a state of grace, which a homosexual can
never reach.
The fact that military institutions, as the fortresses
of masculinity and militarism, exclude women and
homosexual men, does not mean they cannot fight, or
manage to be soldiers. The exclusion of women and
homosexual men is a result of the ideology of
masculinity. This ideology, and the military, one of
the strongest institutions backing it, degrades the
homosexual individual, attacks his soul and
personality because they see homosexuals as nothing
but “faggots”. Curse and despise.
Military psychiatry in Turkey provides a scientific
basis for such an ideological approach to militarism.
Military psychiatry in Turkey still refers to DSM II
of the American Psychiatric Association. Thus,
contrary to contemporary psychiatric literature,
according to the military psychiatrist, homosexuality
is a psycho-sexual pathology, Those who have this
“pathologhy” will not be permitted to join the army,
even when they wish to. If one is discovered to be a
homosexual after his recruitment, the same approach
applies. This time, the law of “unnatural sexual
relations” is applicable.
Under this law, not only a soldier who has homosexual
relations is discharged from the Turkish armed forces,
but also the definition of this relationship is
charged as being “unnatural”!
Nevertheless, the actual circumstances do not always
conform to written rules. Those joining the army by
hiding their homosexuality and those who are not gay
but engage in same-sex intercourse in the army, are
facts of life.
There are three approaches to these facts. To
overlook, to neglect for the sake of protecting the
honor of the unit, to exile these people to separate
places, and label and discharge those defining
themselves as homosexual. Of these approaches, which
is to be taken depends on the situation, the location
and the officers involved.

Freedom for Mehmet Tahran !
Gay and conscientious objector Mehmet Tahran has made
clear in his public declaration that he would not
by-pass the “conscription problem” through means of a
“disabled” report that military psychiatrists would
offer him because of his homosexuality. Conscientious
objection should be a human right ! Stop custodies
against conscientious objectors and free the objectors
who are being held in military prison cells!


*[“Mehmet Loves Peace/Baris!”= A spontaneous slogan
that came out from a “no war” meeting in Turkey.
Anti-militarist heterosexuals use it with
gay&lesbians. Peace/Baris both means “peace” and also
a male name. Mehmet is a common male name and also an
anonymous “soldier” name used in civilian and military

**[Ed. Note: KAOS GL is an anti-hierarchical,
anti-capitalist gay-lesbian organization.]

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