Will you send the soldiers to the ‘disko’?

Will you send the soldiers to the ‘disko’?

“Disko” (short for disciplinary cell) in Turkish is the place where soldiers are sent when they are sentenced to solitary confinement in the Turkish military.

I wonder whether the soldiers who recently suffered from food poisoning in Manisa would have been sent to the “disko.”

Overall hundreds of soldiers have been hospitalized as part of the food poisoning epidemic.

Once the clouds of suspicion started to dissipate and passed the mountain of coincidence and reached the climate of rationality, and once the issue went beyond nonchalance in the form of a kind of shoulder shrug, an investigation was opened into what happened. 

Some of the executives and employers of the food company, Rota Yemekçilik, have been taken into detention. A decision was made to investigate this case and the incident finally came to parliament’s agenda.


Some members of the opposition submitted a request for a formal inquiry about this food company to probe who is behind it. The government said the contract with the company (in Manisa) had been cancelled and claimed it was possible that the incident did not stem from the food. “In that heat, whatever you eat in Manisa could make you sick,” one parliamentarian even suggested.

Defense Minister Fikri Işık also delivered a speech, the kind of speech we believe in all the time. However, as is well known, these types of speeches can be very quickly forgotten…

“Everyone should know this very well. Forget being a member of the Justice and Development Party, if he were even my son or my father and was not doing his job right, when the issue is about the health of our soldiers, I will hold anyone accountable for even the smallest negligence. As a minister, this is my job and I will not hesitate to uphold my duties,” Işık said.

That is what he said. Indeed, that is the right approach.

Accountability for youth

The state must take care of all those who run to fulfil their military service and serve their country during the spring of their youth.

The state owes it to the families who are waiting for bad news every day from their sons on compulsory military service. As of now, we do not know the cause of the poisoning. We do not know whether it is just bad food, the work of a network, or the doing of a dark force. I hope we will find out.

But there is another dimension to the issue. According to a news report in daily Cumhuriyet, there are a number of very worrying claims coming from the 731 soldiers who were poisoned.

“Disciplinary investigations have been opened against soldiers who reacted against the poisoning. The results of their [medical] reports are not being handed out [without a court warrant] in order to prevent the filing of criminal complaints. Families are forced to remain silent so the military services of their sons are not cancelled,” the report stated.

Opposition members have also said the soldiers voiced fears of being beaten up and receiving disciplinary sentences upon their return. 

I had thought the practice of “disko” was history. 

Should poisoned soldiers be punished or beaten up for demanding their rights? Should they be sent to the “disko”?