Government lists price for army duty exemption
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Beneficiaries of the paid military scheme will be exempt from the usual 21-day basic military training program required by similar arrangements in the past. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
A long-anticipated bill on paid military service exemption was submitted to Parliament yesterday, opening the door to men aged 30 and up to be exempt from the compulsory duty, in return for a payment of 30,000 liras.
Once the bill is passed, about 460,000 men are estimated to become eligible to benefit, but the number of applications is expected to be much lower due to the high fee, well above the payment that a similar arrangement had required in 1999.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said his Justice and Development Party (AKP) would try to rush the bill through Parliament as soon as possible, preferably by the end of the week.
Erdoğan announced the details of the bill in a speech at the AKP parliamentary group meeting, stressing that the income to be generated would go to social support funds for families of slain soldiers, crippled army veterans and people with disabilities.
In order to ensure the “proper conditions and avoid any weakness in the fight against terror,” the government had waited for the “right time” to set the plan into action, Erdoğan said. The exemptions will not cause “any shortcomings in the Armed Forces’ need for soldiers,” he added.
The beneficiaries would be exempt from the usual 21-day basic military training program required by similar arrangements in the past. It also expands the scope of an existing exemption arrangement for expatriate Turks, offering those who have worked abroad for more than three years, regardless of age, the option to pay 10,000 euros to skip both the duty and the basic training.
Erdoğan said the government had no plan to grant conscientious objectors the right to reject military service.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), slammed the arrangement as a favor to the rich and challenged Erdoğan to take the bill to a referendum.
A number of Turkish banks announced terms for loans hours after Erdoğan detailed the paid military exemption yesterday. A typical 30,000-lira loan may have installments as low as 500 liras for 60 months, with monthly interest rates that hover around 1.4 percent. Tens of thousands of citizens were expected to apply to banks for the loans. k HDN