A Movement Action Plan for Turkey


These pages are an assessment of the seminar "A Movement Action Plan for Turkey". The seminar took place in Sigacik near Izmir from April 4 to 8, 1998 and was the first of its kind in Turkey. Copies of this documentation are available from Patchwork.

We would like to thank Stiftung Gewaltfreies Leben (Foundation Non-Violent Life), Internationaler Solidaritätsfonds - Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (International Solidarity Fund of the Green Party), Quaker Peace and Service, London, and Bertha von Suttner Stiftung (Bertha von Suttner Foundation) Without their support this seminar could not have taken place. Likewise, our thanks go to DFG-VK Niedersachsen (Conscientious Objectors Association Lower Saxony).





Patchwork - Verein zur Förderung demokratischer Selbstorganisation

Kaiserstraße 24 D-26122 Oldenburg Tel.: +49 441/17111 Fax: 2489661

email: patchwork@oln.comlink.apc.org



A seminar on the Movement Action Plan was held in Sigacik-Seferihisar near the city of Izmir in Turkey from April 4 to 8, 1998. It was organized jointly by the Izmir War Resisters’ Association (Izmir Savas Karsitlari Dernegi) and Patchwork, Germany and run by Silke Kreusel and Andreas Speck from Patchwork. 10 of the 20 participants were from ISKD, the others represented Izmir and Istanbul Students’ Coordinations, the ÖDP (Justice and Freedom Party), the Ecological Action Istanbul, the Anti-Militarist Initiative Istanbul, the Health Workers’ Trade Union, the Medical Association, the Human Rights Foundation and the Women’s Commission.

Since the first public conscientious objection in Turkey in 1990, there have been the beginnings of a non-violent anti-militarist movement advocating the right to conscientious objection, ending the war in Kurdistan and de-militarizing Turkish society. Ever since the arrest of Osman Murat Ülke, conscientious objector and chairman of ISKD, in October 1996, the young movement has strengthened its efforts to put anti-militarism, conscientious objection and non-violence on Turkey’s agenda. However, it faces many problems that block and/or hinder the development of the movement’s own political practice and perspective. The complete lack of any tradition of non-violence in Turkey (and/or the lack of any awareness thereof) is one of them, the overall strong focus on party and state politics another one. Thus there is hardly any knowledge about the mechanisms and functioning of social movements, even though such movements have re-emerged since the 1980 military coup.

Against this backdrop, it was the objective of the seminar to make MAP known in Turkey as a model of analysis and strategy development for social movements. First it was necessary to discuss with participants to what extent MAP, which was developed in the context of Western democracies, was transferable to social movements in Turkish society.

The seminar was structured along the lines of "Basics", "Theory" "Practice" and "Strategy" where, to begin with, points of Organization and substance were defined for the seminar. Under "Theory", the concept of MAP was introduced, under "Practice" the attempt was made to apply MAP to social movements in Turkey and verify its transferability. Under "Strategy" a strategy was developed for the Turkish movement of conscientious objectors based on the MAP analysis.



Apart from organizational arrangements for the group’s work during the seminar, this part dealt mainly with strategic prerequisites for MAP.

An important point of departure was Gene Sharp’s Consensus Theory of Power. Its basic idea is that obedience is the core of political power. Political power is never exclusively vested in the powerholders or elites, but in society. Only through society’s consent can society be ruled by an elite. This defines an important starting point for social movements. Far too often activists aim their policy - be it protest or demands - directly at powerholders. According to the Consensus Theory of Power it is much more important for a movement to gain the support of the truly powerful in society, the people. They are to be aimed at. Once they have been won the policy of powerholders Is bound to change. This is precisely how Bill Moyer puts it in saying: "The decisive task of social movements is ... the fight between the movement and the powerholders for the hearts (sympathy) and minds (public opinion) and active support of the majority of the people".

On the other hand it is possible to Imagine situations where elites do not depend on the consent by those they repress. This applies for example when an occupying power does not have to rely on the labour and resources of the occupied country and its people. Here resistance has to come from a group of people with whom powerholders identify at least in part. This was e.g. the role played by the white middle-class during the civil rights struggle In the US. In the present world order, an elite will also depend on support by elites of other nations. Thus solidarity movements might be able to force their elite to withdraw from cooperating with an oppressive regime.

Even in oppressive regimes - and Turkey must be seen as such - the Consensus Theory of Power holds true. In view of the repression to be expected, however, withdrawal of obedience is an important and sometimes dangerous step for individuals to take. Thus it is difficult for a movement to form which openly and actively withholds obedience. This is why solidarity movements in other countries are of great importance. Membership in NATO and the intended accession to the EU mean that Turkey is again and again exposed to at least verbal demands for the respect of human rights. But concrete support for Turkey’s policy as manifested e.g. in arms exports and the refusal to grant asylum to conscientious objectors, shows the two-facedness of Western policies. So it would be important for solidarity movements of countries that cooperate with Turkey to build up pressure on their own governments so that they stop supporting Turkey.

Another strategic prerequisite is for social movements to recognize their power. Social movement activists tend to see themselves as powerless. They lack the long-term perspective important for social movements and do not recognize intermediate achievements.

When asked what social movements there had been and still existed in Turkey and what they had achieved, participants came up with numerous examples. They named the students’ movement for democratic universities with the latest success being a Supreme Court ruling to the effect that the struggle for human rights and democracy may not be punished by law. The civil servants’ movement for a trade union has made sure that union activities take place even though the union as such is illegal. Other movements mentioned included the environmental movement with its successful struggle against gold mining in Bergama and the almost 20 years of struggle against plans for a nuclear power plant in Akkuyu. The Kurdish movement which fights the Kurds being barred from practicing their own culture and language. The human rights movement had a climax in the so-called "Sursuluk" affair which dramatically revealed cooperation between the government, the police apparatus and the mafia. Further movements mentioned were the anti-war or anti-militarist movement and the women’ movement.

The last strategic prerequisite to be introduced at the seminar was Bill Moyer’s proposition that social movements have to be at the centre of society. Most people believe in central, general values such as freedom, equality, justice and human rights. Many of these values are violated by the state, e.g. human rights in Turkey. All the more reason for social movements to persistently uphold these values, i.e. be at the centre of society. Powerholders, however, keep violating central values because more often than not they only defend particular interests such as those of the military or capital. Therefore, they are forced to create myths to justify their policy. Noam Chomsky uses the terms of "official policy" to describe what powerholders pretend they are doing and "operative policy" for what they are really after. It is important for social movements to uncover the powerholders’ myths and their Operative policy. They fight with powerholders for the role of guardian of societal values.

The discussion of this proposition with participants showed for the situation in Turkey that it is true that universal values such as freedom, equality, human rights etc. are recognized values, but that they are very much obscured and covered by the myths created by government. The Republic of Turkey has developed out of the Ottoman Empire, the economy of which was based on expansive warfare and pillage creating a militarized form of government and society marked by constant warfare. This legacy is still active today. Governmental policy is determined by the army in a militarist, totalitarian and state-fetishist spirit and with reference to Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk = father of the Turks). The military is still seen as the guarantor of progress. Furthermore it is regarded as the preserver of freedom both externally for Turkey as a country surrounded by enemies and internally since the army stands for secularism. The anti-imperialist and secularist aspects of Kemalism lead to its being embraced even in left-wing Opposition circles while its militarist and nationalistic facets meet with broad-based approval. Even today many left-wingers are far from criticizing militarism. And there is another aspect of Kemalism: widespread popular nationalism which denies and fiercely combats the existence of any ethnic and cultural pluralism - the most striking example being that of the Kurds.

As a rule, the state ideology of Kemalism is not challenged by the people. This is illustrated by an opinion poll of January 1996 published in Cumhuriyet daily according to which the military, the police and the judiciary enjoy the highest public reputation whereas people put the least trust in trade unions, the press and political parties.


In this part of the seminar, the Movement Action Plan was presented with a description of the 4 roles of social movement activists and the 8 stages that social movements go through typically.

Bill Moyer assigns 4 different roles to social movement activists - a rough simplification, but easy to apply. The roles are citizen, reformer, rebel and social change activist. All those involved in the movement can play different roles in different situations. There is a distinction between playing one’s role effectively and ineffectively. The citizens are rooted in the centre of society. Thus they generate acceptance of the movement among the other citizens. Citizens are not effective in this role when they are naive and let themselves be deceived by the powerholders’ official policy. Reformers make use of official channels offered by the system such as courts, parliaments and lobbying. Thus movement issues penetrate institutions and conventional thinking. Reformers are ineffective when they engage in Realpolitik and identify with powerholders rather than with the movement. Social change activists aim at awareness-raising and a change in the basic consensus of the majority of the population. They create permanent organizations and promote the development of long-term strategies. For social change activists there is the danger of their having an excessively utopian world view or of only focusing on their own sub-movement. Ineffective social change activists often foster patriarchal forms of Organization.

Participants recognized without much discussion that the 4 roles were equally to be found in social movements in Turkey. Spontaneously, student movement activists were assigned to the 4 roles and it was pointed out that the role of citizen did not exist in the Turkish conscientious objectors movement.

There was more skepticism after the 8 stages model had been introduced. The 8 stages describe the typical development of a social movement. The most important characteristics of each stage are given in its very designation. "Normal times" is the name of stage 1: The problem is there, but the public is not aware of it. Stage II, proving the failure of institutions, is about the movement proving that there is a problem and that those in charge are incapable of solving it adequately. This leads to more mature conditions for a social movement in stage III. Here preparations are made so that a trigger event in stage IV can trigger the start of the movement. After this stage, which is characterized by many mass activities, there arc usually two things that happen. On the one hand, activists compare the subsequent period to the previous one which was stormy, and experience it as stagnation and see it as stage V "identity crises and powerlessness". On the other hand, stage VI "massive public support" happens where the change in public opinion created by the numerous activities in stage IV is expressed and, finally, in stage VII leads to the movement’s "success". Finally, stage VIII is about "continuing the struggle" because according to MAP social movements arc not about single issues, but generally about social change.

Participants discussed and challenged in particular the reaction of powerholders as described by MAP. According to MAP, powerholders in stage IV tend to not take the movement seriously but to keep it small

using the usual bureaucratic means. Participants argued that in Turkey even in "normal times" severe repression was noticeable and kept people from becoming active in the first place and that those groups that were active found it difficult to educate the public due to censorship of the press.



In order to verify the transferability of MAP to social movements in Turkey, two examples were chosen, the civil servants movement for a trade union and the students’ movement, and the attempt was made to match them with the stages of MAP. For this purpose participants first of all drew up the so-called Movement Lifeline for both movements respectively, i.e. they collected and presented movement events in chronological order. In a second step these events were assigned to MAP stages.


The Movement of Public Service Employees in Turkey
(Civil Servants’ Movement)

Here, just like everywhere else in Turkey, the 1980 military coup marked a turning point. After the coup, unionization and the struggle for trade union rights had to start all over again. However, there were no more "normal times" on the issue of unionization.

Stage II

Act 1402 of 1982 led to teachers being dismissed for their political activities prior to the military coup. Teachers protested against these dismissals in newspaper advertisements pointing to the internationally guaranteed right to free trade unions. In subsequent years there were attempts to unionize lawfully. These were not successful because of a legal ban on unionization in the public service. This law, as it were, marked the failure of institutions because employees were denied the right to unionize. Basically, reformers tried through legal channels to obtain the right to unionize, but they failed.

Stage III

At the initiative of Professor Gülmez, an international symposium on the right to unionize public service employees in Turkey was held in 1987. This led to a first teachers union being founded in 1989 and, in the health care sector, to employees boycotting canteen food in order to fight for the right to trade unions. The government reacted to this boycott by punishing people with transfers or dismissals.

Furthermore, between 1987 and 1990 many former trade unionists who had led the movement prior to the 1980 coup were released from prison and once again became active in the movement. After 1987 more and more unions were founded, in 1990 the civil servants’ union was established. So the period after 1987 can be seen as the time of ripening conditions where the movement got going gradually and was working towards a larger movement.

Stage IV

The start of the movement is marked by a legal strike of mine workers in conjunction with a march on Ankara in 1991. In the course of this strike, there were solidarity activities in places the marchers went through organized by civil servants who, in doing so, demanded their own right to trade unions. In the same year the teachers’ union gained recognition as a ,"syndicate". After 1991 there are numerous demonstrations and several more trade unions are founded in the public service sector, in particular between 1991 and 1994. In 1992 the health workers’ union likewise gains recognition as a syndicate.

In the winter of 1992 there are major demonstrations in Ankara by doctors taking to the streets in their white outfits. In spring l992 civil servants demonstrate in front of Parliament in Ankara. From 1992 to 1994 major demonstrations take place twice a year in Ankara. In addition there are several (illegal) strikes by civil servants.

The government’s reaction is on the one hand to set up "yellow trade unions", on the other hand to step up repression. Some officials of trade unions/syndicates "disappear" and/or are killed. In 1992 the government disbands the teachers’ union, their offices are sealed (but teachers disregard disbandment and remove the seals). In August 1992 20 - 25 leaders of civil servants’ unions go on a 3-day hunger strike which is concluded with a big demonstration in Ankara. From 1992 to 1993 the movement also runs a postcard campaign whereby huge numbers of postcards are sent to the President and the Speaker.

On April 5, 1995 civil servants and public sector employees are to be dismissed and public sector wages to be frozen by law. There is a demonstration against this in Ankara from June 15 to 17, 1995 with 80 000 demonstrating in the daytime and 50 000 at night. At the same time there are negotiations between union representatives and the Speaker.

Stages V and VI

This marks the transition of the movement towards winning the majority of the people. A "Confederation of Civil Servants’ Unions" (KESK) is founded so that at the same time national coordination of the movement comes about.

In 1996 the existing civil servants’ syndicates are made legal. The movement quietens down between 1996 and 1998. The founding of KESK leads to confrontation with internal problems (stage V?) . The change of government (Yilmaz coalition government) leads to a phase of wait-and-see after 1997.

The government also sets up a confederation of yellow trade unions. A demonstration of teachers in 1996 is broken up with police force. Divisions among the political establishment, however, lead to the Opposition parties in Parliament supporting civil servants’ unions.

Stage VII

The dramatic showdown in stage VII begins in March 1998 with a bill on syndicates tabled in Parliament to once again restrict or de facto abolish free trade unions for large sections of the public service. A total of 400 000 employees would have been affected by these changes for the worse. So KESK calls for a strike of civil servants in all cities in Turkey, and the call is taken up. While the bill is being read in Parliament on March 4, 1998, 10 - 15 000 civil servants hold a sit-in on Kizilay Square in Ankara. When at 6 p.m. the police try to break it up deploying tanks and teargas, the demonstrators remain seated and further on-lookers join the sit-in. The opposition CHP social democratic party uses tricks to prolong the reading in Parliament. The strike called for by KESK is extended into a one-week strike of all civil servants all over Turkey. TV coverage of the sit-in in Ankara is positive, the strike is widely accepted by the population. Yellow trade unions end up literally attacking the CHP’s offices.

The result of this dramatic showdown was that the bill was frozen. This clearly shows the success of the movement. Thus stage VIII, continuation of the struggle, is next for the movement.


The Students’ Movement for Democratic Universities

The situation of students after the 1980 coup was similar to that of the civil servants movement. Due to the coup all student Organizations had been disbanded, many of their members were in prison. Still, we cannot talk of "normal times" since it was only through government repression that students were prevented from rebelling.

Stage II

Between 1982 and 1986 institutional channels were used first of all to call for the establishment of lawful student associations. At the same time the military regime, with the intention of harmonizing and controlling university teaching, set up the commission on universities (YÖK) After the first student associations had been permitted in 1984, the government tried to disband them again in 1986. The first sit-ins in protest of this, e.g. in Ankara in 1986, led to other smaller activities in other cities and to the establishment of further student associations.

Stage III

increasingly police repression of any budding social resistance was gaining support from fascists under the pretext of combating terrorism. At the universities the situation of left-wing students had deteriorated substantially. They were arrested for no reason and beaten up. At the entrances to the universities there were strict controls where they were searched and where legal press material was sometimes confiscated whereas sticks, knives and even pistols could pass and were later used in fascist raids on left-wing students. As of 1990/1991 the first demonstrations were organized to protest the permanent presence of police at universities. This rang in a stage where the first inter-regional structures of the movement were set up in the form of coordination between universities of different cities. When in 1995/96 the tense social situation at universities produced by cooperation between YÖK, the police and fascists was exacerbated by a 350% increase in student fees, a campaign was launched to collect signatures in protest thereof. In October 1995 a list of 350 000 signatures was presented to Parliament. This laid the foundation of the Students’ Coordination, a network composed of different groups. Parallel to that the Students’ Platform was created formed by different, traditionally leftist organizations. Both networks organized several major demonstrations and activities, beginning in the summer of 1995.

Stage IV

The trigger event of stage IV in this example is most probably a day of action organized by both student networks. On February 29, 1996 the Students’ Platform held a big demonstration and occupied Istanbul University. At the same time 8 students, seated in the visitors’ section, unrolled a banner in Parliament calling for "No Student Fees". They were arrested and tortured. Later warrants for their arrest were issued on the basis of the statements extracted under torture. During the trial the "operational Molotov cocktails" found in house searches were seen as sufficient evidence - despite witnesses who testified that the police themselves had placed this "evidence". The students were sentenced for "membership in an illegally armed Organization". 4 of the defendants received a sentence of 18 years and 20 months, one of 12 years and 6 months and 3 of 3 years and 9 months penal servitude. Their activity had been closely covered by the media who clearly showed their sympathy for the students’ non-violent actions The harsh treatment the students were given in prison also led to much indignation among the people and made them supportive. The government was on the defensive and, by organized fascist raids on students and by setting up its own students’ associations as a counter-movement, tried to intimidate the students movement. At the same time the movement was libeled as a terrorist movement. However, none of this could prevent public opinion from shifting towards siding with the students. Up until late April 1996 the movement grew substantially, new coalitions were formed and students, civil servants and workers demonstrated jointly.

Stages V and VI

In the course of 1997 the movement managed to stabilize public opinion backing it. Public indignation grew in the Sursuluk affair which revealed that government, police and mafia were cooperating. On top of that there was the Manisa scandal where students suspected of membership in an illegal Organization were tortured by the police. The overall direction of the students’ movement had changed Initially their prime concern was abolition of student fees, now the overriding issue was political freedom. The slogan "the mafia in Parliament - the students in prison" contributed to raising massive support in the population. When the movement’s most important demand, release ~f the detained students, had been met in part, the wind had been taken out of their sails. In addition there was the feeling of having been cheated, since not all of the students had been released and even those who had been set free were still prosecuted. Stage V set in and expressed itself typically in violent activities. A last success, however, was achieved in April 1998 with a Supreme Court ruling to the effect that basically students had the right to fight for their freedom.


Having applied MAP to the two examples of the students’ and civil servants’ movements, participants agreed that MAP was transferable to social movements in Turkey as a model for analysis and strategy development However, there was repeated skepticism vis-à-vis the role of powerholders. "Normal times" when powerholders tolerate small Opposition groups as described by MAP are not to be found in Turkey. The basic pattern of powerholders stepping up repression as soon as a movement starts being successful can also be evidenced in Turkey, however it is lesser events that provoke government intervention and the severity of reaction is not predictable. Powerholders were depicted as feeling under constant threat instead of not taking the movement seriously before stage IV as described by MAP. In a nutshell, one can say that the abstract descriptions of powerholders are applicable in the various stages but that the methods used to repress a movement are not comparable to those in Western democracies. E.g. the powerholders’ reaction as described in stage II -they try to keep the movement small with the usual bureaucratic means -may mean that repressive laws on associations are used to dose down political associations. Similarly, long prison sentences and even the "disappearance" of people could be seen as a typical reaction of powerholders to a movement in stage IV.

Despite this restriction the value of MAP as a model was underlined. The possible use of analytical results from MAP to work out a strategy for the future was recognized in the next step. The movement of conscientious objectors was to be analyzed with the help of MAP and a strategy for further action was to be developed. Using the classical approach, the first step was to draw up the Movement Lifeline.


Movement Lifeline of the Turkish Conscientious Objectors’ Movement

1989: first public declaration of conscientious objection to military service (Tayfun)

1990: the second public declaration of a conscientious objector (Vedat) is linked to a campaign against conscription, which is covered by Günes and Sokak newspapers.

early 1990: Turkish intellectuals come out in support of this campaign, Tayfun and Vedat are sentenced by the State Security Court on the basis of § 155

1992: the International Conscientious Objectors’ Meeting (ICOM) decides to hold its next meeting in Turkey

December 1992: Savas Karsitlari Dernegi (SKD - War Resisters’ Association) is founded in Izmir

January 16,1993: 6 men announce their conscientious objection, SKD holds a press conference in this context

July 10-17, 1993: ICOM meets in Turkey

1993: Salih Askeroglu from Cyprus announces his conscientious objection

November 8, 1993: SKD is disbanded by the governor of Izmir

autumn 1993: SKD Istanbul is founded

December 1993: Aytek Özel, chairman of SKD Izmir, is arrested. He is prosecuted on the basis of §155 because of a TV interview. Aytek spends two months in Ankara military prison.

February 1994: Izmir Savas Karsitlari Dernegi (ISKD) is founded

1994: campaign against military jurisdiction

1994: DEP tables a bill on conscientious objection

1994: SHP tables a bill to the effect that civilians may not be tried at military courts

May 17, 1994: on the occasion of the International Day of Conscientious Objection, SKD Istanbul holds a press conference in Istanbul. 17 people and 3 German observers get arrested. 4 Turks remain in detention and are tried at Ankara military court on the basis of §155. Initially the Germans are not allowed to leave the country, however after a trial in early July they are forced to leave. SKD Istanbul is banned.

August 29, 1995: Ruling of Ankara military court on the events of May 17: Osman Murat Ülke (Ossi) is acquitted, but at the same time conscripted into military service.

September 1, 1995: press conference and burning of conscription card by Ossi in Izmir

April 1996: first non-violent action training in Foca

October 3-6, 1996: series of seminars on anti-militarism held in Izmir

October 7, 1996: Ossi is arrested and taken to Mamak

October 1996: Ossi goes on a hunger strike against poor prison conditions autumn 1996: foundation of solidarity committees for Ossi in Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya and Ankara

November 1996: ISKD is again closed down by the governor of Izmir November 1996: first court proceedings against Ossi at Ankara military court. Ossi is represented by many lawyers. The trial is widely covered by the media until finally an enlarged general staff imposes press censorship. Protest faxes are organized to be sent to the commander in Bilecik (Ossi’s unit) and the military court in Eskisehir.

December 27, 1996: trial at Eskisehir military court for renewed disobedience

March 6, 1997: court proceedings at Eskisehir military court: Ossi is sentenced to 5 months in prison

April 1, 1997: trial against ISKD and IHD (Human Rights Association) in Ankara on the basis of §155

May 29, 1997: trial in Eskisehir, Ossi is subsequently released October 9, 1997: trial in Eskisehir: Ossi is arrested again and sentenced to 10 months in prison on October 23, 1997 early 1998: decision by the Enlarged General Staff that conscientious objection is not punishable, whereas incitement thereto is.


To facilitate assignment of the movement to MAP stages, a table was used (5. below) which summarized the most important elements of stages II to IV. After an in-depth analysis of the tasks of each stage, the current state of the movement was located in stages II and III. The tasks of the movement were also categorized along the lines of "solved", "work in progress", "not yet tackled".

For stages II and III these tasks were considered accomplished: "gather expert knowledge", "initiate local non-violent action" and "personify problem". "Work in progress" applies to: "making use of normal channels to prove that powerholders are unable to solve problem", "established organizations and grassroots initiatives have to cooperate", "inform and include other progressive groups". "Not yet sufficiently tackled" are the tasks of "founding new grassroots groups and national networks" and "preparing the grassroots for a new movement". This concluded the analysis of the conscientious objectors ,5 movement with the help of MAP. The jobs not yet tackled in stages II and III pointed to the direction to be taken for further activities. The discussion among participants led to another task from stage IV being added, i.e. "alert, inform and win public opinion.".


Movement /Task



Stage II

  • use usual channels to show that powerholders are unable to solve problem
  • established Organizations and grassroots groups must cooperate
  • establish new grassroots groups and national networks
  • gather expert knowledge


  • hope that usual channels suffice to achieve goal


  • hopelessness, powerlessness


  • try to keep issue from social and political agenda
  • maintain usual bureaucratic means to keep movement small

Stage III

  • inform and include other progressive groups
  • prepare grassroots for a new movement, create structures
  • initiate local nonviolent actions
  • personify problem


  • hopelessness, powerlessness



  • no strategic vision



  • feel safe

Stage IV

  • generate and react to trigger event
  • put issue on society’s agenda
  • create new grassroots movement
  • alert, inform and win public opinion


  • unrealistic expectation of fast success



  • burn-out by constant activities



  • isolate issue from other issues







  • are shocked by new Opposition and public reaction
  • cannot keep issue from society’s agenda
  • defame movement




To tackle pending tasks a strategy was to be developed in the course of the seminar. For this purpose it was deemed necessary to define the objectives resulting from these tasks in more concrete terms.

According to Umbruch (1998:38), an analysis will only lead to a rough description of objectives. So it is important to make them operational. 3 criteria are to be observed in this exercise:

(a) Objectives should be limited in time, i.e. the timing for achieving a goal should be defined. A distinction can be made between "operative" goals, i.e. short-term goals corresponding to a time horizon of days, weeks and months, and "strategic" goals for a longer period of time, i.e. years. Short-term goals may precede achievement of a longer-term goal. The definition of an objective for subsequent strategy development is therefore always based on the long-term, i.e. "strategic" goal.

(b) Objectives are further characterized by being achievable and verifiable. I.e. there must be a realistic chance to achieve a goal and criteria must be set so that its achievement can be verified.

(c) An objective should be achievable directly or indirectly by a group’s own activities. It should be a guideline for action, i.e. give an orientation of the direction to be taken and of what should be done for this purpose.

It is important when defining goals not to confuse means and ends. Far too easily, groups when defining objectives come up with means and measures instead of goals. However, to organize an action week or to do press work cannot be a goal. These are merely measures to achieve the objective of educating the public.

Since all of this was very abstract and there were problems with the translation, the working groups found it difficult to come up with a long-term goal for the conscientious objectors’ movement that would meet the 3 criteria of limited in time, achievable and verifiable, and capable of guiding action. In addition there were problems with the distinction between means and ends.

After the results from the working groups had been presented and after a short discussion, the group finally agreed to define, as the goal of strategy development, the achievement of a kind of awareness-raising that would directly address families to show how they are affected by sons, fathers, brothers and other male relatives having to do military service and thus becoming directly involved in war. The next step was to develop a strategy based on this objective. Rightly the group pointed out that the MAP tasks of "forming new grassroots groups and national networks" and "preparing the grassroots for a new movement, i.e. creating new structures" could be sub-goals towards achieving the long-term goal. Strategy development consisted of sub-goals being put forward (these may also include concrete means and measures) and putting them in chronological order so that they show the way towards the long-term goal. It is important to note that strategy development has to remain realistic as well, i.e. it should be based on what the group is actually capable of achieving and it should include probable reactions by others who are directly or indirectly involved. 3 working groups developed strategies which, in combination, would be a good starting point for further action by the conscientious objectors’ movement. Note that the tables below have to be read from the bottom up to maintain the chronology of sub-goals.


Group 1

The public/families are informed about conscientious objection
























  • sufficient media coverage
  • regular internal and external newsletters
  • strengthen international relations
  • groups form that create a counter-public
  • campaign by groups
  • contacts and solidarity between different social movements
  • local groups are formed
  • week of action around May 15
  • cooperation between existing groups/internal newsletter
  • regular analysis and public evaluation of movement
  • posters on conscientious objection
  • gathering and archiving information



Group II

The public/families are informed about conscientious objection

  • media reports on conscientious objection
  • there are more conscientious objectors
  • there are sufficient activities in existing groups
  • there is good coordination between groups
  • new groups are formed
  • seminars are held
  • awareness-raising is targeted at specific target groups, the media used are telephones, fax, Internet and newspapers
  • develop strategy to reach certain target groups
  • gather knowledge


Group III

The public/families are informed about conscientious objection


possible risks

measures to ward off risks

  • good media coverage
  • demonstrations at proper strategic timing
  • conscientious objection becomes an issue
  • legal action to inform the public
  • VIPs and others deliberately violate §155
  • groups are formed in several cities
  • seminars are held in several cities
  • a women’ movement for conscientious objection emerges
  • stable relations are built with different action groups
  • signatures are collected, information is spread on how to legalize conscientious objection, lawyers draft a bill on conscientious objection which political parties table in Parliament for the purpose of educating the public
  • seminars are held
  • legal groups are founded
  • every month, 100 letters are sent via Europe to addresses in Izmir with information on conscientious objection and human rights
  • books are published
  • a publishing house is founded
  • ask VIPs to show solidarity
  • organize campaign with different groups





ISKD is banned, there are attempts to prevent seminars












police repression

board is arrested, protest, fascist raids

good preparation




creation of an information network, good lawyers, communication using mobile phones











steel doors and bullet-proof windows at ISKD office, ISKD members only go out in groups

For lack of time it was no longer possible to discuss these strategies in greater depth and to combine them. Most participants however were motivated to take up the results of the seminar in their everyday political activities and to continue discussing and tackling the strategies developed.



During the final evaluation it was again emphasized that MAP is a meaningful and applicable tool for analysis and strategy development in Turkey. Repeatedly it was pointed out that it would be useful to translate MAP into Turkish. Although in the run-up to the seminar a summary of MAP, i.e. a brief text and a table, and a summary of the Consensus Theory of Power had been translated into Turkish, they were not sufficient for in-depth work with MAP.

A critical point was that team and participants of the seminar did not share a common language. It was difficult to run an entire seminar with translation. Part of the problem was that notions were used which are hardly or even not at all known in Turkey. Interpreters therefore had to search for or even coin appropriate terminology. The team was not always able to check whether the terms used by the interpreters corresponded to what they had said in German. This gave rise to some misunderstandings. Another problem for the team was that, not knowing Turkish, they could not follow the group dynamics among participants. E.g. when participants misunderstood assignments given to working groups, this would usually only turn out in the actual group meeting. When participants, confused about what they were supposed to do, discussed this in the larger group, the team did not understand what they were saying. It was equally difficult to grasp the participants mood. For this purpose, we would go round the group and ask everyone to share, but due to the large number of participants and the need for translation this proved tiresome.

Due to these difficulties we feel that international trainings, if at all possible, should do without translation and be run in German or English depending on the language skills of participants. Where this is not possible, a co-trainer from the respective country should be included in the preparation so that the team may understand group processes and even have a prior inkling as to what terms might give rise to translation problems.

Despite these difficulties the overall assessment of the seminar is positive, since it was a valuable experience both for participants and the team.