ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
'There should no longer be 12- or 15-month military service,' Arınç says. AA photo
As the controversy over how military conscription might be revised continues, a government official has said he is against long-term compulsory military service in Turkey.
“As a principle, I think there should no longer be 12- or 15-month military service in this country,” Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç told private NTV television channel Friday.
The military is currently mulling a universal military service period of 12 months for every Turkish man regardless of their level of education. However, the government believes such a system would cause unfairness as it would not differentiate university graduates from non-graduates.
Although some government members earlier claimed work on the matter had been completed, Arınç and Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül said no plan has yet been finalized.
"They give the impression that the Defense Ministry has received something from the General Staff about that and that we should now make a decision. No such thing has been received,” Arınç said.
"It is still not clear how long the period of military service will be, whether or not everyone, including university lecturers, will be obliged to serve under equal conditions and whether or not a paid exemption will feature in the new policy.” Arınç said the military should make a decision based on their own opinions.
“Maybe we can talk about being equal in a shorter-term military service, not being equal in a long-term one. These are all under consideration," Arınç said.
Asked if a decision could be made before the election, Arınç said: “You are talking about a period of around 10 months. In 2011, after so many talks something should definitely come out. We cannot leave it like this as it has been.”
Gönül said continuing debate regarding the new policy also focused on whether or not a paid military system could be put back on the agenda. The military is strongly against the idea, arguing that could weaken the military’s strength in its fight against terrorism.