Conscripts to travel for free in Turkey

Conscripts to travel for free in Turkey

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Conscripts to travel for free in Turkey

A deal is inked for transporting conscripts for free-of-charge. AA photo

Turkey’s Defense Ministry and Turkish Airlines (THY) signed a protocol yesterday for free-of-charge transportation of conscripts and sergeants, paving the way for thousands of conscripts to safely and easily reach the towns where they are completing their compulsory military service.

Protocol would be implemented in 142 THY routes, while conscripts and sergeants would also be able to use private airlines at cheaper prices, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz said, speaking at the signing ceremony. All payments will be made by the Defense Ministry, he said. “The transportation of approximately 250,000 conscripts and sergeants is planned according the protocol,” Yılmaz said, noting that implementation will begin Dec. 28.

After PKK ambushes

Free-of-charge flights for soldiers came on the agenda following an ambush by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in September that led to the killing of 10 soldiers in the eastern province of Bingöl.

The Turkish General Staff ordered on Oct. 22 that the transportation of all military personnel from high-security risk zones be conducted by air, in an effort to avoid ambushes by the PKK on military vehicle convoys traveling along roads.

Conscripts and sergeants will be able to use free flights during discharge from the military, while on leave of absence and when their location is changed for medical reasons. “It will be possible to comfortably transport our soldiers to certain points which are the closest ones to their units in a comfortable ride and in a much shorter time,” Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım, who also attended the ceremony, said.

“In this way, we will be providing an opportunity to them so that they can further devote their energy and power for the country’s security and protection. It is a very good service,” Yıldırım said.