Antidote to Turkish Rambo

Here’s the real-life flipside to Valley of the wolves, Iraq: a Turkish military court has released the phenomenally brave gay consciencious objector Mehmet Tarhan.

An excellent piece by Bernard Bouwman in Dutch in the NRC describes how our man decided after 9/11 that this fight was not his in any sense and–traitor!–refused to serve when called up last year. He was imprisoned and beaten so severely by fellow-prisoners and prison officers that he could no longer walk by the time he appeared in court.

The army then figured they could kick him out because he had never concealed the fact that he was gay, incompatible with military service according to the regulations. However, he refused to take the army’s sexuality test–feel free to speculate luridly as to its nature–and the army, already under pressure from the European Court of Human Rights, has finally been forced to climb down.

Although as an objector he remains in zombie-like limbo in Turkey, the government has promised to work to introduce an alternative to military service.

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