AKP stands by its paid military service bill: Group deputy chair

AKP stands by its paid military service bill: Group deputy chair

AKP stands by its paid military service bill: Group deputy chair

It is not possible for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to withdraw its paid military service bill, the party’s group deputy chair Bülent Turan said on June 12.

“As the AKP, we are behind our bill. The General Assembly’s discretion is welcomed by us. There can be alterations and revisions; nevertheless, it is not possible for us to withdraw the bill,” Turan told Demirören News Agency on June 12.

“We wanted the bill to pass this week. Yet, due to some concerns in the current situation, we saw fit for some articles to be discussed again,” he added.

The AKP on May 23 introduced a bill to the parliament which will reduce the period of military service from 12 months to six months and make the paid service permanent for those who can afford it.

With the new system, Turkish citizens will be required to undergo a one-month-long military training and will be exempted from the remaining five months of service by paying 31,000 Turkish Liras (around $5,365), according to the bill’s draft.

Discussions on the bill commenced in the General Assembly on June 11.

Lawmakers from political parties including the AKP, its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) kicked off debates on the bill, voicing their concerns and suggestions.

The MHP is affirmative to the bill yet necessary precautions need to be taken to remove any possible vulnerabilities as the bill will be passed into law, deputy Mustafa Hidayet Vahapoğlu stressed.

Meanwhile, CHP’s İzmir Deputy Mehmet Ali Çelebi underlined that reducing the military service time span to six months will generate a “matter of survival,” because there will exist a serious deficiency in the amount of soldiers performing military duty.

He said lawmakers need more information from the chief of defense about how the proposed law would impact the military, Çelebi stressed.

The CHP deputy also suggested lifting the one-month compulsory military service and offered to assign civil defense duties instead.

“If we lift the 21-day-long training, we will remove unnecessary costs, workload and squandering,” he said.

The parliament sessions will proceed for three consecutive days until June 13.