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Jan Claire made this to cheer me up:)

I could still not get my “dispatch” document from the military office. In fact, last week I was at my military office in Yeni Bosna, to where it takes half an hour to reach by Metrobüs, but I was told the bring the official copies of my diplomas. Although everything is already registered somewhere, you have to follow the steps. I found my master degree diploma but i have no idea where my undergradute diploma is. Finally I decided to go anyway, since they have a copy of my undergradute in my file there. (I saw it before- My file is one of the thickest ones, that includes all my previous sick reports, all educational past information, my once trial in the military court because I did not report I was in the US and missing several calls).

Well, then there are my courses and all and i have been postponing to go. When you arrive, there is always a queue at the gate, a private warning all stand back, not too close to the gate. Since I am registered right in the neighbourhood where the military office stands for, I am privileged. I don’t have to wait in the queue. Those losers are registered somewhereelses and there has to be faxing exchanges for them. My file is just there in that office building so I can enter the building before them. But of course not that easily. There is always that stress to be recognized by the lieutenant in charge. He comes regularly to pick a group of male citizens to process. In the mean time, you approach and show your ID that shows your are registered in that district. If it is not too crowded, he invites you immediately and so here you are inside the building. (you might guess that Erkan is not that a pushy guy, I had had that trouble with public buses. In the busiest of times, I could never get on the bus, because others would always push me away)

When I get  into the building, my life becomes easier. All officials, civil or military are always kind to me and are very helpful. Except that young smartass bitch – who is a new comer – who questioned my previous sick report and there was a little possibility that I could be consripted in last August and my dissertation defense plan would collapse. Yes, there are civilian officials in the military offices, too. These are civil servants in charge of processing our conscription cases which are in the end completed by military officials.

I will try to go and get my dispatch paper this Friday afternoon. Once you get that document there is no going back. It is harder to stop the process. The next step will be to take the exam sometime in 1-3 April in Tuzla. I finally got some ideas about the nature of that exam. It looks like the one that takes places nationwide for graduate degrees (ALES exam). Turkish and Mathematical knowledge is tested and there is a rumor that if you do well enough to be in the first 1000 in the test, you might have a chance to choose where to go. That’s a rumor, I could not verify that.

update:
Yesterday, I got my dispatch paper. I had to wait in the queue more than ever. But this time Can (Avcı) accompanied me and I was less bored. On our way to the military office, we listened to Manowar’s Kings of Metal which surely guns you up with battle hymns in metal form:) I am now officially at the first stage of joining the Army. I was paid 8,6 liras (5 bucks?) for the travel allowance (I spend it with having gyro). In one of three days, 1-3 April, I will take the test. The test takes one hour but before that you have many bureaucratic stuff to do, like filling in documents, interviews etc. You are gathered in groups of 100 persons and move accordingly. I will probably spend at least half of my day in the conscription center.
A friend said: "Well when you arrive there, you will think what the f*** I am doing here, but think of that: all others think the same way, so you will relax, you are all in the same boat…
Several friends warned me about the constant movement of things in the barracks a.k.a. stealing. I was warned to be careful about my boats, which move more than others. Interestingly, I don’t feel threatened at all. I believe people will treat me well in every stage and I will make good friends with my fellow barrack mates. So don’t you worry about me.

When the official filled in forms, I was categorized as a person with a master’s degree. Unfortunately, I am not categorized as an "academician" since my PhD degree is not officially recognized yet.

  • Di

    And how will we contact you when you are serving? Are you allowed parcels from Belgium? 🙂
    I try to be excited about coming to Istanbul, and I am but I land the day before you leave and that makes it all a little bit sad for me.

  • Claudia, from Canada.

    I’m so glad the whole world already know you’re a hero! Before it was only us.;-) It looks really tedious to go into the army. But I guess they have to know who you really are. For sure, they won’t call you Dr.Erkan even if it’s your true title. Hope all’s well that ends well. Warm Wishes from Canada.

  • Well, i think i’ll feel extra safe in Turkey, with you in the army!
    (So glad we got rid of this military nonsense in The Netherlands!)
    Cheers and try to make the best out of it!

  • Erkan,
    Not likely…but should you ever run into an officer in the Turkish army named Fatih Cesur, I met him. He was studying at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and we met at the annual Turkish festival there. Great guy.
    http://www.stormingmedia.us/59/5955/A595534.html

  • Erkan, you will certainly meet some good people in the army. During my military service (40 years ago) I met two men who became lifelong friends. With that great way of yours to win people you will face no problems.

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