EU residents must do Turkish military service

21 November 2008

EU residents must do Turkish military service

In Europe, men of Turkish parentage have a problem – conscription. If they don't want to go into the Turkish armed forces, they have to pay from €5.200 to €7.700 euro to be released from duty. Even then they are obliged to go through basic training involving three weeks in Camp Burdur, near Izmir. "If you live in the EU but retain Turkish nationality," points out SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer, "you are forced to do military service in what for you may be an alien culture in an army which, for example, has a record of violence against Kurds."

Accession negotiations

Meijer has put a series of written questions on the issue to the European Commission. 'The Commission must take the opportunity of accession negotiations with Turkey to put an end to this situation," says Meijer. "Having to do military service in Turkey doesn't do a lot for your integration here. The Turkish authorities are denying EU residents their legitimate rights. The EU needs to deal with this question."


The attitude of the Turkish authorities has repercussions for Turks living in the EU and seeking to integrate. For family visits, for instance, and for property and inheritance rights. "I would like to know how much money the Turkish state takes in exemption fees and what is done with it," says Meijer.


"The European Commission must check up on this," Meijer insists. "The army controls a number of firms which have their nests feathered with this money. The Turkish Defence Ministry is, for example, a shareholder in the Oyakbank, which owns shares in the motor industry and building firms in the EU. I have had indications also that in Turkey expensive residential districts have been built which are part-financed from these exemption fees."

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