The court hearing of the Turkish Cypriot conscientious objector Murat Kanatli is scheduled for November 24th 2011.
Murat Kanatli has declared his conscientious objection in 2009 and has refused to participate in the annual, compulsory military exercises in northern part of Cyprus. His first court hearing in the military court was scheduled for June 14th.
On that day, he had announced that his goal is for the human resources of war to dry up and that personally he will not participate in any war, so it is meaningless to participate in any preparation for war. “If there was a war in Cyprus, I would not take sides. Who are our enemies? Is it anyone who is on the other side of the barbed wire? Are our enemies the friends that we drink coffee with every day in Ledra Street?”
The case has been postponed first to July 5th, July 26th and then to September 29th. The next hearing is on November 24th.
A strange behaviour of the Nicosia Military Court
Gerd Greune – Murat Kanatlı – EBCO
As if they have something to hide, both the Prosecutor and Judge of the Military court humbled around the “fine case” of ex-reservist Murat Kanatli to declare after three meetings that they finally agree to study the issue and deal with the request of the conscientious objector to be released from military service on conscience grounds. Both felt obviously also relieved to be released from this case as they were replaced on this very day by the High Judicial Court. “The objective is”, says Murat, “that we can bring this issue to the Constitutional Court to verify the fact that the reserve service as well as the military service as such is in contradiction to relevant parts of the constitution of the northern part of Cyprus.”
Murat Kanatli, who has been refusing to attend the military mobilization in the northern part of Cyprus since 2009, had announced during his first trial on 15th July that he will not be part of any war either in Cyprus or elsewhere in the world, therefore, there is no point for him to participate in the processes regarding the preparation for the war, stressing that his efforts aim at curbing the human resource of war. The first trial had been postponed to 5th of July, then to 26th July and then to 29th of September…
During the trial held on 29th September, Murat Kanatli’s lawyers demanded that the case is transferred from the military court to the constitutional court. The prosecutor’s office stated their position that more time was necessary to research the case and thus the case has been yet again postponed to 25th October.
Prior to the court case, upon the call of Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus, a press conference was held outside the military court.
Gerd Greune, President of the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection, underlined the European standards for the right of conscientious objectors that are valid all over Cyprus protecting the EU citizen Murat Kanatli. The recognition of these standards by the court today would be an important step forward for the unification of Cyprus, he stated.
Mine Kanol, Kamil Ipciler and Nevzat Hami read the press releases for New Cyprus Party– Feminist group YKPfem, the Cyprus Youth Platform and the Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus respectively.
In addition to the press releases, Hami mentioned the solidarity messages of Baraka and BKP (United Cyprus Party) as well as the greetings from the Party of the European Left and of Michalis Tremopoulos, MEP of the European Green Party, stating that they were following the case closely and emphasizing their solidarity with Murat Kanatli.
Hami also mentioned that the Secretariat of European Socialists has raised the issue of his court case with an official question to the European Commission asking their legal intervention.
After the conference, the impressive group of supporters and journalists went into the military court room. Some members of the press were not allowed into the court on the grounds that they had cameras.
29 September 2011
On Tuesday 14th June 2011, Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus activist Nevzat Hami and Murat Kanatli, held a press conference in front of the Turkish Military Court in Nicosia before the trial of Murat Kanatli.
The Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus:
Reject War, Reject Reservist Military Sessions!
Four years ago when we founded the Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus, we declared “Peace is our duty for our homeland, conscientious objection is our right” and stated that we would be supporting all individuals who do not accept the resultant effects of militarism and view militarism as a barrier for peace, democratisation and civilianisation, and we would endeavour to remedy the problems they face.
We would like to point once again that we are against the laws which accuse those standing against militarism of “Alienating people from the military”, and stress that we will in no circumstances accept that the right to conscientious objection, an advocacy of life, be subject to military trial and punishment. We are against the military justice system which also soldiers do not deserve, and we demand the removal of military judiciary, noting the uniqueness of law.
Cyprus has suffered greatly from war… Now, we raise our voice so that there will be no more war on this land and in the world. In order to deprive war of its human resources, we exercise our right to conscientious objection; we reject war and its preparations…
When we say we refuse to take part in war preparations, we mean to reject it absolutely. That is to say, as well as conscription, we refuse the war preparations taking place every year, gathering in military camps under the name of reservist military training sessions, even if this is only one day, one hour, or even one minute. Since we have declared that we will not take sides in a war in Cyprus or anywhere else in the world, taking part in the training therefore becomes meaningless…
In a while, the trial process against those activists who refuse to participate in war preparations, namely mandatory reservist training sessions, will begin. The activists will declare their conscientious objection during the press conference, and then go in the trial. We have gathered here as anti-militarist, anti-war activists and we will raise our solidarity.
As the Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus, we call everyone to confront the rulers, the system and war, in the framework of conscientious objection.
This call is to those who lost something from themselves in the war which continue in Cyprus for years, mothers who send sons to the army and suffer, young people who cannot see the future because of military service, Cypriots who are forced to live away from their homeland; in short this is a call to all individuals, all men and women.
This is a call to stand to the difficulties and to organise against war and its preparations, against the occupations and militarism.
Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus activist
14 June 2011