My dear readers,
In less than a month, I am joining the mandatory military service. Every male Turkish citizens has to do the service and it is time for me now. After finishing the dissertation I have no more excuses and I have to do that.
There are several unknownables in the process. It is sort of a public secret. All served people know something but no one can know what expects you there. There is a great deal of arbitrariness. I will write about my curiosities until I join the service and in the mean time, we can discuss about these…
First of all there is the Turkish Penal Code (TCK 318): "Alienating people from military service". If one discusses about the military service in Turkey, s/he should bear in mind that you can be sued because of this article. This is already an issue between Turkey and EU but relatively minor one compared to other articles. Honestly, I do not believe I might be subject to this article anyway, but still it exists there as a check point:)
One frequent metaphor that comes to my mind is prison. Your freedom to act like in your daily life is temporarily lifted. To what extent, I have no idea. Can I continue to read? How much I can read? Can I be online? Only in weekends? Will I have permission to have weekends off? I know that service men are given temporary leaves in weekends. But how much? You sexual life is stopped. It is not very active anyway but still you know that even masturbation is hard to perfom among tens of men you will live with. Will I have any privacy at all? Your eating and sleeping patterns are also controlled. You have to sleep with tens of other fellow service men in the barracks. My hobbies, like cinema or music will also be abrupted. My means of communication will also be limited and controlled to a large extent. And of course my scholarly studies will also be paused. I will lose my salary, and I may even lose my job….
However, these questions may partially be answered in the first days of April where I will attend a symbolic test in the recruitment center somewhere on the far end of Istanbul and it will be determined: a) whether I will serve for 5.5 months as a private or will serve 12 months as a sort of lietunant. If I become a private, which I want because it is shorter, I will certainly lose most of my freedoms and prison analogy will work just fine. If I serve for the longer term, it will be like a civil servant and I will probably have my nights and weekends back and i will also be paid. Still less than my salary but better than nothing. b) where I will serve. Anywhere in Turkey possible at the moment. c) as what I will serve. Which section of the Turkish army I will be in…
to be continued.
Turkish army posters for Women’s Day. "How happy is the Turkish woman who gave birth to Atatürk." Two more posters can be found here .
Feeding around 700,000 military personnel, the majority of whom are conscripts, in Turkey, where compulsory military service is in force, has long been a burden on the country’s economy.
Last week marked the 12th anniversary of the Feb. 28 military coup, which all began with an ultimatum given by the military during the National Security Council (MGK) meeting on that day in 1997.