10/05/2006 | Writer: KAOS GL

The New Anatolian / Ankara
May 10, 2006

The Board of Military Court of Appeals yesterday (May 2, 2006) ruled that a Turkish conscientious objector must perform his military service, as his homosexuality can't be proven by a medical examination.

Gays in Turkey are excluded from military service provided they allow army doctors to examine them to establish to the military's satisfaction that they are genuinely homosexual. Human rights activists call the exams invasive as well as a violation of the objectors' rights.

Mehmet Tarhan was first put in a military prison shortly after he was forcibly conscripted in April 2005 for refusing to wear his uniform. He was released three months later and again refused to wear a uniform and was again sent to prison in the eastern city of Sivas last August.

Characterizing homosexuality as a "severe psychosexual disorder," the court argued that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling 11 years ago in favor of another conscientious objector, Osman Murat Ulke, was not binding for countries.

The court also argued that conscripts who do not at first declare themselves gay and later refuse medical examination to establish their homosexuality should be put into military service.

Tarhan had declared his homosexuality but refused to undergo the examination, saying that his homosexuality isn't the reason for his conscientious objection.

Citing Tarhan's refusal of the exam to establish his homosexuality, the court ruled that he be sent directly to military service, instead of forcing him to go through the exam.

The verdict, which argued that Tarhan's homosexuality may only be proven when he attends compulsory military service, said Tarhan can't avoid military service due to his homosexuality.
Turkey fined over previous conscientious objector

Tarhan's case isn't the only conscientious objector case for Turkey: In 1995 the ECHR issued a verdict saying that the Turkish government had mistreated Ulke, though the new Turkish ruling says the ECHR decision is not binding.

The court imposed a fine of 11,000 euros to Turkey and emphasized that Turkey has no law related to conscientious objectors.

Ulke, who had been living as a fugitive, got prison sentences from both civilian and military courts, and spent a total of 701 days behind bars.

Original Link: http://www.thenewanatolian.com/tna-5989.html
Tags: human rights, military