It's been long time since my last blog was published on The Huffington Post. The reason why I haven't posted a new one until now is not that I was scared of the insulting feedback that I got on Twitter just that I've been very busy with work. So yeah, I got couple of insulting tweets but to be honest, I don't really give a fu*k, because I didn't insult anyone. I respect the government, because I should. This what my family taught me. I have to respect my flag, I have to respect my own language, I have to respect anything that belongs to my country. And I have to respect politicians. Even if I don't like them. However, I do have concerns about being a minority in Atatürk's country.
Whatever, as I promised, I will continue to tell you stories about my country. This is Chapter Three. Like the previous chapters the main characters are the same. And obviously they will be the same for a long time. I want to talk about two topics.The first one is conscientious objection as you've probably guessed from the title.
Maybe you know this but then again maybe you don't, every Turkish man has to join the army for two years at the age of 20 or whenever they finish their education. This is okay and even if it's not okay the law doesn't let me say otherwise. So, I'm not going to. But I am allowed to talk about paid military service. What does "paid military service" mean? Well, if you are lucky enough to have Turkish identity on condition that you pay 5200 euros, a basic military training of 21 days is offered instead of the full-term military service.
However it doesn't end there, if you have managed to reach the age of 30 without having done your military service and you have 15,000 euros you're home and dry. No basic military training, no 1095 days rule. But if you don't have this amount of money, it really doesn't matter how old you are.
Well, what does it sound like to you? To me, it's paid conscientious objection. If you have the money you can be a conscientious objector. If you don't sorry but "Every Turk is Born a Soldier". Here is your uniform, your boots and here is your gun. The military need a free workforce. They need people to cook for them, they need people to clean for them, they need people to take their children to school. They need someone to kill and die for their mistakes. In short - they want our money or our lives... Does this sound familiar to you?
The other topic I wanted to talk about concerns a man named Festus Okey. A Nigerian man who was killed by a police officer Cengiz Yıldız while in custody at the Beyoğlu police station in İstanbul on Aug. 20, 2007. Festus was detained in 2007 for not carrying identification and killed by a police bullet. The case against the police officer only came to court on December 13 2011. Just a month ago. The court sentenced him to four years and two months for causing death by negligence. Festus's brother, Tochukwu Ogu says, "They killed Festus because of his skin color. So, there is racism in Turkey."
Even worse Cengiz Yıldız the officer who killed Festus was allowed to keep his job right up until the court case. He kept his job and carried the gun which he killed Festus with for three years. Actually we should ask who's fault it was? Cengiz Yıldız in his defence said, "I'm here because I did what I had to do. I was acting on orders." I don't think we will ever know who's fault it was. Ever.
Killing innocent people. Not that unusual in Turkey. Two weeks ago 35 smugglers were killed by a Turkish air raid. I really want to talk about this too but it's better that I don't because it's still under investigation but please search for information about it by using this link. When the investigation is over I'll tell you more..
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