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Osman Murat Ulke

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Title: Osman Murat Ulke  
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Subject: Conscientious objector
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Osman Murat Ulke

Osman Murat Ülke
Born Ründeroth, Cologne, Germany
Nationality Turkish
Known for conscientious objector

Osman Murat Ulke (born 1970) is a Turkish conscientious objector. He was imprisoned for two and a half years for refusal of military service, and was the subject of a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights.[1]

History of the case

Ulke publicly burned his conscription orders after being called for duty September 1, 1995.[2] A year later, he was detained in Izmir and formally arrested October 8. He was put on trial at the Military Court of the General Staff in Ankara, charged with "alienating the public from the institution of military service" and was additionally charged for burning his call-up papers and declaring his conscientious objection.

Amnesty International contacted the Turkish government, requesting that it provide alternative civilian service. Turkish law had no such provision in place. The human rights group made its suggestion based on recommendations made by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the Council of Europe.

The European Court of Human Rights found the nation had violated of article 3 of the convention in its persecution of Ulke. The court ordered Turkey to pay 11,000 euros to Ulke in compensation.[3]

Continuing Issues

Even after serving his term in prison, Ulke and his family continued to be harassed, according to Human Rights Watch. A second conscientious objector, Mehmet Tarhan, has been imprisoned by Turkish officials.[4]

Awards and honors


  1. ^
  2. ^ Turkey: Osman Murat Ulke: conscientious objector imprisoned for life - Amnesty International
  3. ^ European Court of Human Rights, Ülke v. Turkey, application no. 39437/98, 24 January 2006
  4. ^ Turkey lags behind fellow Council of Europe members on recognition of right to conscientious objection (Human Rights Watch, 13-9-2006)
  5. ^

Further reading about conscientious objection in Turkey

  • United Nations HCR report on military service in Turkey
  • WRI summary on conscientious objection in Turkey
  • Documentation: Conscientious objection in Turkey

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