Paid military exemption may come back soon - great news for millions looking to avoid mandatory military service of 12 months or less.
Bülent Turan, acting chairman for the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) parliamentary group, announced Wednesday that they would present a regulation on the matter, one day after speculations emerged over the reintroduction of military exemption.
Under the proposed regulations, anyone aged 25 and younger can pay TL 15,000 ($3,133) and be exempt from military service, save from 25 days of conscription. This short enlistment term distinguishes it from previous practices of paid military service where applicants only needed to pay the fee and were not obliged to serve even for one day.
Proponents of paid military service claim the conscription derails their budding careers. Many who campaign on social media are university graduates and complain that serving a short period of conscription [12 months for high school graduates and six months for university graduates] should be replaced with exemption to boost the economy. For Bülent Turan, the paid service can be the "first step to switch to a professional army."
Currently, the army is composed largely of conscripts and Turkey only recently stopped deploying them for counterterrorism and other risky operations. Previously, soldiers were forced to serve in risky areas with little training in their short tenure in the military, often ending up dead in counter-terrorism operations.
Reminding about campaign promises of the AK Party to reintroduce the paid military service, Turan said more than five million people awaited the regulation. "The army needs about 300,000 conscripts yearly. This is an enormous gap compared to the number of people eligible for military service. This regulation will help in closing the gap and I believe more steps will be taken in the future for a more professional structure for the army," he said.