We Said “Don’t Serve in the Military” Because…

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bianet writers Mustafa Sütlaş and Şeyhmus Diken commented on the investigation launched against them for “turning people against military service” by contributing to the book “Don’t Serve in the Military Because…”

Prosecution launched an investigation about 381 people who contributed to the book, “Don’t Serve in the Military Because…”

Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office opened the investigation based on the charge of “turning people against military service” included in article 318 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), upon the complaint made by Turkish General Staff.

Well-known public figures are also among those being investigated.

Mustafa Sütlaş and Şeyhmus Diken who contribute to bianet with their pieces are included in the list of the accused.

Click here for the names of all 381 under investigation

Sütlaş and Diken spoke to bianet about the investigation they are facing:

Sütlaş: It is a physician’s duty to oppose death and killing

As a writer, I had written and submitted this sentence at the time:

“Military service is a training for war and killing; as for wars, they are the cause of the greatest diseases and death at every age, and therefore the cause of unhealthiness and a very grave public health issue; don’t serve in the military or learn to kill because in order to ensure and protect health and healthiness one needs to oppose wars and not do military service, remember: if you don’t serve in the military, there won’t be any wars!”

The book and website in question only wanted one sentence, so they featured the “if you don’t serve in the military, there won’t be any wars!” part which was also included in the news piece in bianet.

As you know I am a physician. Physicians side with life against death. Opposing death and killing are among a physician’s duties.

A war is fought with soldiers and military service is the time and place where people are trained to fight and thus to kill. So in essence, someone who is against war and killing can’t not be against military service as well.

On the other hand, one duty of physicians is to prevent problems before they occur. And with these words I’m making an observation and a suggestion. This is a requisite of the freedom of thought and expression. I say, write and express these whenever I can. I think and maintain the same things today. It is my most fundamental right to do so.

In my opinions, the law or the case resting upon it is a direct intervention of militarism in democracy and freedom of thought and conscience. I hope and wish for independent judiciary to make the right decision in this lawsuit process, in line with the requisites of universal human rights that Turkey signed to accept. 

Diken: Should we have said ‘kill each other, all for the homeland’?

Two years ago when they asked, I said; "Don’t serve in the military because one day the bullet that’s prone to leave the cold iron that’s handed to you can cause your peer born of a mother like your own to be buried under the black earth.”

So they launched an investigation. What can we say? Frankly we belong to those that oppose children raised to the point when they’re of age only to be sent to do their “national service” at the military being buried in a government-stamped bag-coffin under the black earth wet by mothers’ tears. 

If it’s a “crime” to say these, we’ve committed it. What should we have done? Should we have said, kill each other, good job, all for the homeland?

Kentel: Military service makes you dumber

One of those under investigation, Şehir University Sociology faculty member Professor Ferhat Kentel, PhD spoke to the university’s news website GasteŞehir about the investigation.

Kentel made the following evaluations:

“I had written the following in the book ‘Don’t Serve in the Military Because’: ‘Don’t serve in the military because it makes you dumber; orders, beatings, guns, dying and killing are normalized. Whereas life and conversation without orders enriches the soul; living and letting live renders people more humane.’

“Of course, perhaps other sentences could be added to these; for instance: ‘Or if you really want to go, then go, but don’t force anybody; everybody does not have to go through the same cogs.’

“The fact that military service cannot be questioned, that those who say ‘don’t go’ face prosecution is the typical result of a sanctifying operation... It’s a so-called sanctification produced by the nation-state’s ideology caught in the dilemma between security and insecurity or by the interest-based dominant class relations that propose this dilemma as the sole rational option...

“The ‘modern religion’ of the nation-state gathers the sanctity of previous traditional societies and religions to reconfigure secular faiths and sanctities. And of course, an official and dominant ideology wrought with self-proclaimed, intense sanctities cannot tolerate injuries to this sanctity. It can protect its sanctity only through restrictions and laws.  

“As a result, paradoxically, every new oppression brought against those that say ‘the emperor has no clothes’ only serves to rub off the golden veneer of sanctity.” (EKN/PU)

* Click to read “Don’t Serve the Military Because” online (in Turkish) or to download it in pdf format.

* Click here to read the article in Turkish and here in German.

Source: bianet.org


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