World Bulletin / News Desk
A proposal submitted by the Republican People's Party (CHP) to allow potential draftees to pay a specified amount of money in lieu of performing compulsory military service as a one-time only opportunity has created conflict between CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with the latter accusing the former of playing with young people's hopes.
The CHP is promising to reduce the duration of compulsory military service from the current 18 months to six months. Kılıçdaroğlu has also said the CHP will seek to pass legislation that would allow men attending university to serve in the military during the summers and in segments so that they can get this legal responsibility out of the way by the time they graduate.
Erdoğan said Kılıçdaroğlu's promises were "unrealistic" and even "farcical". “He now says they will have men serving in the military during the summer months. For military service to be serious it can't just be performed during the summer vacation. I am worried that perhaps Kılıçdaroğlu didn't do his military service,” he said, speaking at his party's parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday.
Also speaking at the parliamentary group meeting of his party on Tuesday, Kılıçdaroğlu remarked that just as Erdoğan's son once availed himself of the option of payment and an abbreviated period of service in lieu of full term of compulsory military service, the sons of this nation should also be able to do the same. “It was nice when your son was able to pay to serve a reduced military term under the guardianship of the governor [of the province in which he performed his military service]. Why are you disturbed at the possibility of this nation's sons serving their military service in the same way?” he asked.
The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was the first political party to attempt to offer a one-time exemption scheme in return for payment for men who had not yet completed their military service, but it had to back down in the face of staunch opposition from Turkey's powerful military.