Turkish gov’t sets criteria for paid military exemption: age 25, fee TL 15.000

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AFP PHOTO / ILYAS AKENGIN

Turkish men who are at least 25 years of age and pay TL 15.000 (around $3,100) will be able to avoid serving a lengthy compulsory military service in Turkey and will serve for only 25 days, according to a statement from a Justice and Development Party (AKP) official on Tuesday.

AKP deputy group chairman Bülent Turan said the criteria have been set for those who want to benefit from a paid military exemption and that the relevant bill would be submitted to the Parliament Speaker’s Office on Tuesday.

Turan said the bill on paid military exemption would be added to an omnibus bill that will come to the floor in October when Parliament returns from summer recess.

Men who are over the age of 18 in Turkey are required to serve in the military for six months if they are university graduates and 12 months if they do not have a university degree; however, the option of paying a fee to reduce or waive the required service is introduced from time to time.

“I want to give the good news to all our citizens waiting for the exemption. Taking a step that fits the sprit of military service was a duty for us. We want this to be a step toward a transition to a professional army. Today, we have more than 5 million people waiting for this [paid military exemption]. There is a big backlog of people,” Turan said, adding that men who are at least 25 years old and pay TL 15.000 will be able to benefit from the exemption only by serving 25 days in the military.

In April President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, “A paid military exemption is not on our agenda for the time being.”

“That would be disrespecting our martyrs and veterans,” noting that Turkey has a military operation underway in Syria.

The AKP first launched the paid military exemption in 2011, when men over the age of 30 paid TL 30,000 and served just 21 days in the army. In 2014, a new paid-exemption law attracted 160,000 out of 600,000 eligible candidates above 27 years of age. They paid TL 18,000 for the exemption.

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