A new paid military system bill will not lead to any weaknesses and vulnerabilities within the Turkish military, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, in a bid to relieve concerns regarding the new system amid recent debates in parliament.
“The claims that there will exist vulnerabilities in Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] with the new system, have no basis. Is the Turkish Army — one of the strongest armies in the world — so imprudent that it will not take a security weakness into account?” Erdoğan said in his speech at his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) group meeting.
“With the new military service, no setbacks will occur neither on our country’s borders nor in Turkish Cyprus. Such an occurrence is out of question,” he said.
Erdoğan also stressed that it is not possible for such vulnerabilities to emerge because a meticulous preparation process took place for the bill, along with monthly National Security Council (MGK) meetings.
“With the new military service law, about half of the conscripted soldiers will be discharged and the remaining will continue to perform their duties. If there exists distresses about the conscripted soldiers, it is our duty as politicians and rulers of this country to provide solutions,” he underlined.
The president also conveyed that about half of the Turkish military’s personnel consists of commissioned, noncommissioned and reserved officers, specialized and contracted privates and regular personnel in private cadres.
“In critical missions, all our troops, especially those tasked in the fight against terror, are composed of regulars. Conscripted soldiers are generally tasked in ground missions and garrisons. With the new military law, about half of the conscripted soldiers will be discharged. The remaining will continue performing their duties,” he added.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli held a closed-door meeting at the presidential complex on June 13.
The meeting lasted around 40 minutes.
Defense committee head says Turkey will win
The new military system meets the needs of the army and the nation, Defense Committee President İsmet Yılmaz said on June 12.
“In the bill, both our nation’s expectations and the needs of the Turkish army were taken in consideration. This bill aims to efficiently use the educated human resources while providing sustainability to the military system,” Yılmaz said at the parliament’s general assembly.
One of the most advantageous applications of the new law is that it will put an end to the public’s expectations for new paid military service laws, according to Yılmaz.
“With this regulation, the reasons to avoid the military service will be removed. It will be a system where every conscripted soldier will perform his military duty,” he said, adding that currently there are about 2.3 million conscripted male citizens avoiding military service.
The Turkish army will become stronger because of new skilled staff recruitment under the new system, Yılmaz stressed.
Lawmakers from political parties including the AKP, the MHP and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) kicked off debates on the bill, voicing their concerns and suggestions.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar will visit the parliamentary groups of the CHP, the MHP and İYİ (Good) Party over the conscription law.