Defense minister denies hints of new paid military service arrangement
Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz says the government is not focusing on a new paid military service arrangement. AA photoThe government is not considering a new paid military service arrangement, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz said Nov. 27, denying that the option expressed by Justice and Development (AKP) deputy head Numan Kurtulmuş via Twitter was under consideration.
“The Defense Ministry is not engaged in preparations to [issue a new arrangement] on paid military service,” Yılmaz said, adding that it was "harmful" to speak of such steps at a time when officials are seeking ways to draft more than 500,000 absentees into service.
“They are not coming to do their military service because they are waiting for the paid [arrangement]. So we should not talk much about the paid military service, nor the amnesty. Otherwise, those who are thinking of going to military service will think of not going [until an arrangement is made],” he said.
The defense minister emphasized that Kurtulmuş "expressed his personal opinion" on Twitter, but that the General Staff had the final word on any eventual new paid military service option.
“The General Staff gives the final opinion on this matter. Mr. Numan Kurtulmuş has tried to draw attention to a social problem, saying there were between 500,000 and 600,000 absentees. He said that if the age of benefitting from a new paid military service arrangement was revised down, the problem might end. But this is his own personal opinion,” Yılmaz said.
The government moved last month to shorten the compulsory military service of male citizens from 15 to 12 months.
Yılmaz also said there were no plans to reduce the short-term compulsory military service, usually to the benefit of university graduates, from six months to four.