Turkish gov’t jails Ağbayır as first female conscientious objector in Turkey

Turkish government under the rule of autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has jailed Zeynep Duygu Ağbayır as the first female conscientious objector in Turkey last week.

According to a report by pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency on Tuesday, Turkish police forces raided the home of Zeynep Duygu Ağbayır, the first female conscientious objector in Turkey and a member of Anti-Capitalist Muslims, in İstanbul on Thursday. Ağbayır was not home during the raid and she went to the police department later to give a statement together with her lawyer.

Ağbayır was taken into custody and taken to Ağrı province where the investigation against her had been launched. Interrogated at the prosecutor’s office here, Ağbayır was referred to court and then put in jail. There is reported to be confidentiality order on her case file.

Ağbayır had organized aid campaigns for children during two years of her service as a contract teacher in Ağrı province. As the first female conscientious objector in Turkey, she had declared conscientious objection in a demonstration of ‘Conscientious Objection Association’ at İstanbul’s Galatasaray Square on May 18, 2013.

Peace activist and conscientious objector Yannis Vasilis Yaylalı, who settled in Roboski village to stand with families after 2011’s massacre, was also arrested on April 2017 and jailed in Turkey’s eastern province of Şırnak.

A Turkish military court has also sentenced conscientious objectors Onur Erden and Uğur Gültekin 10 months for jail term over the fact that they have been refusing to serve in the Turkish army in March 2017.

Military service in Turkey is compulsory for all male citizens between 20 – 41 years of age. Women are also allowed only to become officers choosing it as a career enrolling in military schools and not as conscripts.

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