Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 16
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
Turkey, which achieved success in many areas, especially economic, has been recently determined to strengthen its defense industry.
As a result of the reforms, Turkey has achieved significant success in the defense industry: the country produces its own tanks, mobile outposts that have worked well while fighting the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), pistols, ANKA drones and other military equipment.
A system of paid exemption from military service will continue in Turkey in accordance with one of the recent reforms in the country. This is necessary to create a professional army. But this reform was ambiguously perceived in Turkey.
Several opposition parties in Turkey regarded this as another attempt to weaken the country's armed forces. Some other political parties stated that this reform is unfair, since not all can pay 18,000 TRY for exemption from military service. (The official exchange rate for Feb. 16 is 2.4722 TRY/USD.)
Turkish defense minister said in his latest statement that 18,000 TRY for each conscript will be transferred to the country's Defense Industry Foundation in order to ensure its development.
Turkey succeeded to reach 54-percent self-sufficiency in defense industry sphere.
Over 200,000 people have applied for exemption from the service in the armed forces, according to Turkish Defense Ministry.
Some 18,000 TRY is quite a considerable sum for exemption from military service, especially taking into account that the minimum wage in Turkey is currently 949 TRY.
So, the importance of Turkey's banking system is increasing, as a number of banks have already announced that they provide special loans to families of conscripts at an annual rate not exceeding 1.9 percent for a period of 12 to 36 months.
For example, Akbank, Denizbank, Finansbank, Ziraat Bankasi and other major Turkish banks have already begun to grant loans to the conscripts for exemption from the military service.
Taking into account the conscripts, who applied to the ministry to be exempt from the service in the armed forces, it is possible to calculate that the Defense Industry Support Fund will be at least supplemented by 3.6 billion TRY.
One can expect that such interest rate on loans will help to ensure that the number of people who have applied for exemption from military service in Turkey will grow.
Turkish armed forces consist of the Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force, Gendarmerie and the Coast Guard.
The Turkish army is recruited by conscription, the draft age is 20 years, the term of compulsory military service - from 6 to 12 months.
After the discharge from the armed forces a citizen is considered to be subject to the draft and is left in the reserve up to the age of 45 years. In time of war, the men aged 16 to 60 years and the women aged 20 to 46 years who are able to bear arms may be called up to the army of Turkey, in accordance with the law.
Edited by SI
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu