Possibilities of exemptions from military service (follow-up to TUR34520.E of 8 June 2000) [TUR34964.E]

On 15 June 2000 a representative of the Izmir War Resisters Association (ISKD) provided the following information on military service in Turkey, which is excerpted from a document produced by the organization, entitled The Turkish Armed Forces and Human Rights Abuses (selections translated into English by ISKD):

Those whose military service is deferred to the next year (military law 1111 Art. 35)

In practice this is simply called 'deferment.' During the last roll call, the ones whose military service is going to be deferred to the next year are gathered under seven groups. They could be grouped in two main groups called mandatory deferment and non-mandatory deferment.

i) Mandatory deferment

People whose bodies are not developed enough to be of use to the military.
The ones who are sick, in custody or convicted.
The ones in middle school, high school or university (until the age of 29).
The ones with brothers in the military.

ii) Non-mandatory deferment

People doing internships, specialty training or doctorate degrees (until the age of 33).
People who have worldwide-known scientific successes (until the age of 36).
People working in foreign countries.

To be discharged as unfit (military law 1111 Art. 37)

Thin and disabled people whose condition requires them to be deferred for five years are discharged as unfit by military committees that form at the fifth year. The examination of the people who are deferred like this to the next year is only unique to times when there are no wars. During times of war the requirement of military committees or passing of four years are not sought after. The Ministry of Defense could order for all those obligated ones to be examined again and able and disabled people to be inducted into the military.

Military service for students

During the first roll call the education status of the person is determined. Later the induction offices send status form to the school where the obligated student is. The school fills the appropriate places of that form and returns it back to the induction office. The school administration fills out the same information every year until the student graduates or leaves school for some reason and sends it to the induction office. They are subjected to the deferment process every year. People who are reported to have graduated or left school for some reason or still a student at the age of 29 are treated like people who are at military service age by birth date that year, they are processed and military service is decided upon.
But during this time if a person has an opportunity to continue his education, they are allowed to continue until the age of 29.
After reaching the age of 29, and getting one university degree, starting again for a second degree does not give that person deferment rights; they are not deferred and are inducted.
The military status of masters and doctorate program students are determined by article 35 section E of the military Law. The obligated master or doctorate program students have the option of performing their military service as reserve officers. The dispatching of the obligated reserve officer candidates who have had their induction decided upon could be deferred. Dispatching of these obligated people could be deferred up to the age of 33 by the Ministry of Defense.
But here different from the masters programs the law requires the principle administrator of the institution in question to have a proposal to the Ministry of Defense.
Obligated people who are under inquiry from articles 86 and 89 of the military law are not subject to deferment process until they are found not guilty or the case is dropped.
On the other hand starting a second masters or doctorate program after completing the first one does not allow the possibility of the deferment process.
One third of the time they spent there of the people who leave the Military Academy or Gülhane Military Medical Academy or universities where they are sent by the Armed forces is considered as active duty. But these obligated people definitely go through the basic training. In case the time spent in military academy meets the active duty requirement, these people are sent to reserve duty without basic trainning.

Military service for people with dual citizenship

If ones who are born in foreign countries or who have moved to a foreign country until they reach maturity,1 or the ones who get the right to earn other citizenship, could prove that they have served in the military of other countries are assumed to have completed their military service. Otherwise until the age when they complete 38 years they could complete their obligation in a state seemed fit by the military law.
Per the addition made to the law, numbered 2550, Section 2, on November 6, 1981, Turkish citizens who could document that they have been on active duty in the Republic of Northern Cyprus are not required to serve on active duty again.

Military service for Turkish citizens working in foreign countries

Obligated people who have earned the right to live and work in a foreign country, with the stipulation that they apply to aTurkish consulate and complete all the necessary military procedures like, last roll call, induction, and dispatch, could defer their military service up to the end of the year when they complete the age of 38.

Military service considered completed in exchange for foreign currency

Military service in exchange for foreign currency could be considered to be an exception to the obligatory military service required by Art. 1111 article of the military law. Military service for foreign exchange is arranged by the administrative decree issued on November 11, 1992, numbered 92/3769 based on Art. 1111.
In addition to people who have earned the right to live and work in foreign countries, people who are there for a minumum of three years, as an employer, as a career person or executing an art could benefit from the military service for foreign exchange program. In order to acomplish this the obligated ones, in compliance with the military law or reserve officers and reserve military civil servant law must apply to their Turkish consulate and through it to induction offices, with all the documents proving their status. The obligated ones must completely pay 10,000 Deutsche Marks or the equivalent amount in the currency of the country they are in, from the time they apply to until the end of the year when they complete the age of 38. But having paid this amount does not meet the requirements of their obligation. To meet this requirement they must also complete one month of basic trainning in Turkey. Only after that the obligated people are considered to have completed their active duty2.

This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


1 Age of maturity being, one of the requirements for earning the civil rights, is the condition of completeing age 18.

2 For the requirements for people who want to benefit from the military service for foreign exchange clause even if they meet all these requirements, and for people who cannot benefit even if they meet these requirements, and for type and amount of foreign exchange and payment schedules, and for the documents required during the application, and for the process of induction, dispatchment and discharge processes and for the seserve status of the same, and for their extrication from the military service for foreign exchange program, see addition


Izmir War Resisters' Association. 15 June 2000. Correspondence.

Associated documents