chapter  42
11 Pages

Citizenship and objection to military service in Turkey

ByHilâl Alkan, Sezai Ozan Zeybek

In October 2010, İnan Süver, an imprisoned conscientious objector, wrote an open letter to the Turkish prime minister, describing the dreadful conditions of his imprisonment and reiterating his reasons for refusing to carry out military service. He concluded his letter with a demand: ‘I want to be executed’ (Süver 2010 ). When he wrote this letter, Süver was in prison for the third time for refusing to do his military service, being held in solitary confinement and repeatedly tortured. Yet his civilian life, before he was imprisoned, had been no better. He was unemployed, had lost almost all of his personal support networks including part of his family, could not engage in any official business or receive any public services. For more than ten years Süver, in or out of prison, had been suffering the effects of a civil death for having refused to fulfil a duty. He thus concluded that it would be better to die than to continue under these circumstances (Süver 2010 ).