Compulsory military service for Turkish citizens living abroad (January 2003 - October 2004) [TUR43066.E]

In March 2003, the Turkish Grand National Assembly passed a bill concerning compulsory military service for Turkish citizens living abroad (Anatolia 12 Mar. 2003). The new legislation reduced the length of compulsory military service for overseas citizens who have not attained the age of 38 to one month, provided that they made a payment of 7,668 euros ([CDN$11,894] XE 2003), within two years, to a Turkish consulate or military service office (ibid.). In respect of Turkish citizens living abroad who have attained the age of 40 years, the new legislation eliminated compulsory military service altogether in exchange for a payment of 10,224 euros (ibid.) ([CDN$15,859] XE 2003). In both instances, the government would regard such individuals as having fulfilled their military obligation if the aforementioned requirements were fulfilled (ibid.).

The bill also provides that individuals who have given up or who have lost their Turkish citizenship, but who have applied to regain their citizenship, should, within one year of regaining their citizenship, file an application to benefit from the aforementioned provisions of the new legislation (ibid.).

Anatolia news agency reported that "[n]o legal prosecution for the crimes of hiding, being absent with leave, or failure to report (for military service) will be made against those who avail themselves of the arrangements of the law" as outlined above (ibid.).

Compulsory military service for Turkish citizens living abroad appeared to have remained unchanged in June 2003 when a news article published by Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) reported that Turkish citizens living abroad had an option of either serving the required 15 months compulsory military service or making a payment of approximately 7,500 euros and serving only one month of service (22 June 2003).

However, in July 2004, die tageszeitung, a daily German language newspaper based in Berlin (die tageszeitung n.d.), reported a further reduction in compulsory military service (ibid. 13 July 2004). According to the article, the Turkish Minister of Defence had announced that in addition to paying a fee of approximately 5,112 euros ([CDN$7,926] XE 2003), Turkish citizens living abroad will now have to serve only 21 days of military service as opposed to 31 days (ibid. 13 July 2004). The information reported by die tageszeitung could not be corroborated among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Additional information on compulsory military service for Turkish citizens living abroad could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Anatolia [Ankara]. 12 March 2003. "Turkey: Assembly Endorses Bill on Payment in Lieu of Military Service." (FBIS-WEU-2003-0312 13 Mar. 2003/WNC)

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). 22 June 2003. "Turkish Military Announces Cut in Compulsory Military Service." (Dialog)

die tageszeitung [Berlin, in German]. 13 July 2004. No. 7407. "Turks Abroad." Translation by the Translation Bureau, Multilingual Translation Directorate, Public Works and Government Services Canada. [Accessed 8 Oct. 2004]

_____. n.d. "Im Vergleich zu uns sind alle anderen gleich." Google translation. [Accessed 8 Oct. 2004]

Universal Currency Converter (XE). 2003. "Universal Currency Converter Results." [Accessed 13 Oct. 2004]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), BBC, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003, European Country of Origin Information Network (ECOI), Freedom in the World 2004, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF-HR), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL),

Turkish Daily News.

Associated documents