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Parliament brings major changes for Turkey’s military service law

The Turkish parliament on Tuesday ratified a new military service law that introduces significant changes in the country’s armed forces.

Changes such as shortening the mandatory military service period and making paid military service a permanent practice will come into effect.

With these law changes, the military service has been dropped to six months for all privates. The duration was previously 12 months for privates with elementary or high school graduation, while it was six months for privates with a university degree or above.

Thus, the graduation factor on the service duration has been eliminated via the bill.

In case a private wants to extend his service period, he can additionally serve for a maximum of a six-month term on the grounds the defense ministry approves.  University graduates still enlisted as reserve officers will be serving for 12 months.

The law paves the way for the paid military service to become a permanent, instead of an exceptional, practice. In Turkey, the conscription is compulsory for males of Turkish nationality over 18-year-old.

In the past, the option of paying a fee to reduce or waive the service was temporarily introduced from time to time.

A Turkish citizen will have an option to be exempted from mandatory military service by paying a certain fee, 31,000 Turkish Liras ($5,371). Those who can afford the required amount will only be required to carry out a one-month theoretical military training.

Around 100,000 soldiers, who are currently serving their mandatory military service, are expected to be discharged when the law takes effect.

The bill, which was also approved by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will go into effect after being published in the Official Gazette.

The 65-article law was approved in the General Assembly of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) by a majority vote led by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP),a by a total of 335 lawmakers out of 600.

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