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(en) Anatolia: Conscientious objector arrested

From worker <a-infos-tr@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 25 Oct 2002 23:32:04 -0400 (EDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

sent by: "Concodoc Project @ WRI" <concodoc@wri-irg.org>
25 October 2002

Turkish conscientious objector Mehmet Bal presented himself to the army on
Thursday, and was arrested immediately. Today he was transferred to the
military prison in Adana. War Resisters' International is concerned about
his safety, and therefore calls for protest faxes to the military prison in
Adana 6. Kolordu Askeri Cezaevi
Adana, Turkey
Tel. +90-322-322 83 67
Fax: +90-322-322 81 36

Mehmet Bal is a unique case of a conscientious objector, and probably many
will feel uncomfortable about this case. Osman Murat Ülke, Turkey's first
conscientious objector who spent 2 1/2 years in prison from 1996-1999, met
him in the Military Prison of Eskisehir. He wrote about him in a letter
published in Peace News December 1999-February 2002 (in which he called him
Ahmet). In this letter he describes the circumstances in his prison cell,
which was lead by Ahmet. Osman Murat Ülke first encountered a boycott
against him, but was released soon. He returned to the same cell soon,
after being rearrested because of his conscientious objection. He writes:
"This time my roommates were quite surprised, because they saw that my stay
was not a coincidence. They realised that I was serious about conscientious
objection and that I chose to be there. Ahmet had difficulty accepting this
and so he started discussing this with me. After a while we came to the
point of living peacefully together.
"Although our thoughts were in conflict, he began to respect me, followed
by a kind of friendship. Observing my behaviour in prison, Ahmet tried more
and more to understand my principles. So we began to discuss, in a more
relaxed way, ethics, religion, anthropology, history, nationalism,
psychology and so on. He was reading the books my friends brought me and
one day one of these books acted like an explosion inside him.
"After nearly two years of knowing each other, his rate of change gets
faster and faster. ..."
Mehmet Bal (alias Ahmet) was imprisoned because of murder, and at the time
Osman Murat Ülke met him in prison, he was a fascist. In March 1999 he was
sentenced to lifetime imprisonment. Osman Murat Ülke describes his process
of change above.
About 4 month ago an amnesty granted by the Turkish constitutional court
lead to his release, and he was immediately ordered to report to his
military unit in Mersin. He went there and refused to bear arms. He then
was allowed to serve in the library of the barracks.
Four weeks ago he was granted holidays. During this time he decided not to
continue to serve - even in the library - but to declare his conscientious
objection to military service.

War Resisters' International calls for support letters to Mehmet Bal:
   Mehmet Bal
   Adana 6. Kolordu Askeri Cezaevi
   Adana, Turkey

War Resisters' International calls for protest letters to the Turkish
authorities, especially the Military Prison in Adana, and Turkish embassies
abroad. Please mention that you are concerned about Mehmet Bal's safety.

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Mehmet Bal.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International

War Resisters' International
Conscientious Objection and Conscription Documentation Centre
5 Caledonian Road * London N1 9DY * Britain
Tel.: +44 20 7278 4040 * Fax: +44 20 7278 0444
Email: concodoc@wri-irg.org * http://wri-irg.org

Help WRI to support consientious objectors!
Send your donation:
- by cheque, money order or bankers draft in £ Sterling, payable to "WRI".
Cheques must be drawn on a bank with a branch in Britain;
- by giro transfer to War Resisters' International, Girobank, Merseyside,
Britain, GIR 0AA, account number 585 20 4004, sort code 72-00-00
- by credit card (please contact the WRI office for details)

Post your co-alert information online at
or send an email to: concodoc@wri-irg.org

Archives of co-alerts can be found on WRI's website at

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