Conscientious objection: A contestation of citizenship in Turkey

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Turkey

Approval Date: 2012




This thesis discusses the politics of conscientious objection in Turkey within a framework of citizenship. In this study citizenship is identified with being political and conceived as a process comprised of acts and practices. According to this conception, while practices reproduce the discourse of citizenship in a given context, acts are the deeds that challenge this discourse. Conscription, within this framework, is defined as a citizenship practice which re/produces the militaristic, nationalistic and gendered content of the Turkish citizenship. Conscientious objection is approached as an act of citizenship that contests and challenges the established citizenship regime in the country. This challenge and contestation is presented through the interviews with the conscientious objectors and activists as well as a review of the already published material by and on them. Conscientious objection challenges the citizenship regime in Turkey on three inter-related grounds: 1. It challenges and exposes the militaristic content of the discourse of citizenship in Turkey. 2. It challenges the political content of ‘Turkishness’ –that is the nationalistic content of Turkish citizenship- with particular reference to Kurdish issue; and 3. It challenges the prevailing gender roles and the values of hegemonic masculinity in Turkey.