Gendarme to end conscription as military reforms take hold

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published

Amid Turkey's move to reform its military, the Gendarme General Command is set to end the conscription starting July 2019. The command, responsible for security in rural areas, counterterrorism operations in remote places with its commando units and prison security, already underwent a major change after the 2016 coup attempt.

It was placed under the command of Interior Ministry that oversees police, a few weeks after the attempt. Barring a decision on the contrary by Interior Ministry, no conscripts will be admitted to the gendarme forces under a 2016 decree, starting from July 31, 2019. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced earlier that they planned to phase out conscription service as planned to "make the gendarme a professional force" and they would recruit up to 30,000 new military personnel every year to compensate for personnel reduction once the conscription ends.

For a country where conscription is widely viewed as a patriotic duty by millions, Turkey took significant steps to lessen dependence on conscripts that make up the bulk of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). It introduced a "contracted officer" and "contracted private" concept that allowed university graduates to enroll in the army without having to attend military school first and stopped deploying conscripts in risky counterterrorism operations.

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