Turkish PM says will look into paid military service exemptions

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has brought paid exemptions to military service, long a demand of middle-class Turkish families, said the government would consider the issue after June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections, secularist newspaper Cumhuriyet said.

Turkish men with university degrees must serve in the military for 6 months, while those without must serve 12 months.

But with Turkish troops fighting in Syria, Iraq and against Kurdish insurgents inside Turkey, many families are actively seeking to save their sons from service.

“As a government, as an administration, we have to find a solution to this,” Yıldırım said. “God willing, after the election, this will be one of the most important topics we will consider. Because families will not give their daughters (to a man who has not done or been exempted from military service), it is difficult to get married and it is difficult to set up a business or keep oneself alive.”

Turkey should be working towards moving very slowly to a professional military, Yıldırım said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week denied that paid exemptions from military service would happen.

“Paid military service is not on the government’s agenda at present, there is no such situation,” Erdoğan said.