Kurdish CO Continues Hunger Strikes In Turkey

Turkish news site Bianet English reported on May 5 that İnan Süver, a conscientious objector, has started another hunger strike to protest his imprisonment since early August 2010.

Turkey does not recognize the right of conscientious objection. As of March 2011, there were 125 objectors including 25 female objectors in Turkey. Another 256 people of Kurdish origin also had announced their conscientious objection to military service.

Süver was conscripted into the Turkish Armed Forces in 2001, but declared himself a conscientious objector after serving 12 months. In 2003 he was arrested and detained at Şirinyer Military Prison for a while.

In August 2010, Süver was arrested again on charges of alleged desertion and has been shuffled around between various prisons since then. In November 2010, the Aegean Army Command Military Court rejected his request to be released and since then Süver has started numerous hunger strikes in protest against his imprisonment.

On April 21, 2011, Süver escaped from Manisa Saruhanlı Open Prison in western Turkey and was caught a day later and taken to Buca Prison in Izmir. It was at Buca that he started his latest hunger strike. On May 3, it was decided Süver be put into isolation for 20 days as punishment for not ending his hunger strike. According to his lawyer, Süver was transferred back to the Manisa prison on May 4.

Remziye Süver, his wife, has criticized his treatment, stating he is being singled out due to his Kurdish heritage. Süver was born in the southeastern Kurdish majority province of Van in 1977 and is an activist of the Kurdish Conscientious Objection Movement.

She said, “There were a total of 120 conscientious objectors by the time İnan announced his conscientious objection. There are currently about 500 conscientious objectors. Nobody else is tyrannized this way though. The reason that they keep on at İnan this much is that [the southeastern city of] ‘Van’ is written in his ID. I cannot explain the situation in any other way.”

İnan Süver’s father, Yasin, met with his son on May 4. He said that his son’s face looked very pale and worn out. “We rolled out the red carpet for İnan when we sent him to the military. However, İnan was tortured in the military. He escaped. Subsequently, they kept İnan in prison for a total of 16 months. He has been in jail for the past nine months. Now they imposed an isolation punishment on him because he went on hunger strike. For 20 days he will not have the opportunity to see or talk to anybody.”

To protest against the unjust treatment of İnan Süver, contact the Turkish Ambassador to the United States:

Ambassador Namık Tan
Embassy of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008





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