The Soldiers' Rights initiative monitors rights violations imposed to soldiers during their compulsory military service and makes public the violations they determined. In the course of the group's second visit paid to the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission, the members of the initiative submitted 22 petitions concerned with ill-treatment and rights violations experienced at the military.
The group met with Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputies Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Levent Gök and Hüseyin Aygün, MP Ertuğrul Kürkçü from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), and Deputies Naci Bostancı, Erdal Kalkan, Hamza Dağ, Dilek Yüksel and Ayhan Sefer Üstün.
Same complaints from all different places
In an announcement made by the initiative to the commission, it was explained that six of the rights violation as forwarded in the petitions of complaint allegedly occurred in the disciplinary ward, three at military prisons and the remaining 13 at other areas of the military. Seven of the petitions of complaint were made by soldiers who are still serving in the military, it was said.
The initiative expressed their concern that the conditions for five of these seven soldiers might further worsen. Therefore, the names of these people were not disclosed. According to the Soldiers' Rights group, even this uneasiness was enough to give an idea about the situation of the soldiers.
The petitions came from soldiers serving in different provinces and who do not know each other. They mainly put forward the following complaints: humiliation, swearing, rough beating, sleep deprivation, being dressed in dirty clothes, sitting on wet ground for a long time, forced to keep the head tilted forward for a long time, forced to do heavy work.
The situation in the disciplinary ward is more severe according to the statements of the soldiers. Almost all soldiers coming to the disciplinary ward undergo a "welcome" procedure. They have to fully undress before they are humiliated and beaten. Afterwards they have to wear dirty clothes they are given. They are sleep deprived and forced to tilt their heads downwards continuously.
Measures of vital importance
The Soldiers' Rights initiative drew attention to the suspicious deaths of six soldiers during the first two weeks of 2012. The group emphasized that measures to stop violence against and ill-treatment of conscripts were of vital importance.
The initiative requested the members of the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission to establish a sub-commission related to rights violations of soldiers. It was reported that this demand was met positively by the members of the commission. (EKN/VK)