Militarism in Turkey and conscientious objection as an antimilitarist act of civil disobedience
Kesikli, Erkinalp (2013) Militarism in Turkey and conscientious objection as an antimilitarist act of civil disobedience. [Thesis]
The Republic of Turkey is established on a hegemonic founding ideology that is centralist, unitarist and militarist. One of the two major means of maintaining and justifying this ideology is compulsory military service. The fact that Turkey remains the only member state to the Council of Europe that does not recognize conscientious objection and the heavy sentences it gives to conscientious objectors make the functional and ideological essence of military service visible. On one hand, the various coup d’etats, the significance of general staff in decision making, the inauditability of military expenditures, the independence of the military judiciary, and the power of militarily-owned companies in economy make the military an autonomous institution with great impact on the state. On the other hand, military has rised to the level of publicly highest regarded institution, the military service appears as a culturalized establishment along with its values and ethnically and sexually coded hierarchy. In this framework, the acts of civil disobedience taken by the conscientious objectors in Turkey along with their criticisms on the Kurdish issue, militarism, nationalism, androcentrism and heterosexism do not simply initiate a discussion of citizenship but shatter the core values upon which the state is founded. Considering that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has been putting forth recommendations to Turkey for recognizing the right to conscientious objection, and the criticisms of the European Commission on Turkey’s democratic credentials based on the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, the issue merits academic attention both in the area of human rights and in European Studies. This study argues that conscientious objection movement, due its radical but nonviolent nature, carries a transformative potential that can alter the static mindset of the Turkish nation with regards to cultural militarization, and push the Turkish state for further democratization and civilianization via its claims for conscientious objection.
Repository Staff Only: item control page