Turkish judges, prosecutors exempt from military service until age of 35 in bid to fill vacancies after dismissals

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Male judges and prosecutors will be exempt from compulsory military service until the age of 35 in a bid to fill vacancies left after many judiciary members were dismissed from their jobs over links to the Gülen network, in line with a protocol signed between the defense and justice ministries and the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK), daily Habertürk reported on Jan. 11.

According to the protocol, the HSK will send a list of the names of prosecutors and judges who have not yet done their compulsory military services to the Defense Ministry, which will delay their conscription until the end of the year in which they turn 35.

Some 2,033 names on the list will be recruited into the military in the May call-up period once the postponement time expires. Those who prefer to complete their military service before 35 can be drafted once they submit a document received from the HSK to the military saying there is no objection to them being recruited.

If a judiciary member’s name is not on the list and has not done his military service yet, he can still apply to the HSK to ask for a delay.

The move comes after around 4,500 prosecutors and judges were expelled from their jobs over links to the Gülen network, which is widely believed to have been behind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

The Justice Ministry has also held a series of exams to accept new candidates into the judiciary to fill the jobs and shortened the duration of trainings and internships to speed up the process of candidates becoming judiciary members.

As a result of the government’s efforts, over 5,000 new judges and prosecutors were recruited after the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt, but a high number of the new judiciary members had not yet completed their military services, prompting the Justice Ministry to contact the Defense Ministry regarding the issue.

Accordingly, the defense and justice ministries and the HSK signed the “conscription delay” protocol, which is set to be in effect for the next 10 years.

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