The north’s ‘deputy parliament speaker’ Fazilet Ozdenefe pledged on Friday to “do her best” to legalise conscientious objection.

Ozdenefe was speaking to a group of conscientious objection activists, among whom was Mustafa Hurben, who is set to stand trial in January in military court after refusing to complete his military service.

Turkish Cypriots are required by law to complete military service, which ordinarily lasts 15 months. The concept of conscientious objection is not recognised in the north’s laws.

Ozdenefe said “it saddens me and many [other ‘MPs’] to not be able to make the necessary legislative arrangements on an issue which is considered a human right by the European Court of Human Rights and in international practice, as part of one’s freedom of religion and conscience.”

She said that ordinarily, courts in the north defer to ECHR rulings on the matter of human rights, but that in this particular incidence, an act of ‘parliament’ would be required for conscientious objection to become a recognised term and be legalised.

She spoke of previous attempts to legalise conscientious objection, saying that a bill had been introduced during the period of the four-party coalition, which governed between January 2018 and May 2019, but “unfortunately, we would not implement it.”

She added that she will speak to ‘MPs’ from all parties in ‘parliament’ to bring the matter back onto the agenda.

Hurben’s trial is set to begin in military court on January 18.