Parliament OKs paid military exemption
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily NewsParliament passed early yesterday a long-awaited bill exempting men from compulsory military service in return for a hefty payment, as the main opposition said it may consider asking the Constitutional Court to cancel the arrangement.
The law, which needs presidential approval to take effect, stipulates that men who are up for military service and have attained the age of 30 as of Dec. 31, 2011 can benefit from exemption in return for 30,000 Turkish Liras. Those eligible will have six months to apply.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP), however, signaled hours after the parliamentary vote that it may ask the Constitutional Court to cancel the bill. “We are assessing and examining the issue. I cannot say anything for certain. But there is a significant violation of the principle of equality here,” CHP Deputy Rıza Türmen told the press.
The payment requested under the bill prompted objections from all opposition parties at the debate in the General Assembly, but their moves to secure a reduction failed. The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) suggested a fee of 5,000 Turkish Liras, while CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) proposed 15,000 liras.
Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz reassured deputies the funds to be generated would not be used to cover the budget deficit and the money would be deposited directly to the Family and Social Policies Ministry’s accounts.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the money will go to social support funds for people with disabilities, families of slain soldiers, army veterans, and military families in need. The beneficiaries of the bill will be exempt also from the 21-day basic military training, which similar arrangements in the past required.
Oktay Vural of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) denounced yesterday the abolition of the basic training requirement as “a favor to conscientious objectors and those in the mountains who have fired bullets against the security forces.”
The fee for men who have been working abroad for at least three years was set at 10,000 euros with no age restrictions.