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Turkey: Possibilities of exemption from military service; possibility of deferral of military service for studies

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 8 June 2000
Citation / Document Symbol TUR34520.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Turkey: Possibilities of exemption from military service; possibility of deferral of military service for studies, 8 June 2000, TUR34520.E, available at: [accessed 18 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

On 1 June 2000 an official at the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa stated the following:

Turkish men who are studying in institutions of higher education in Turkey can defer their military service until after they complete their studies.

To our knowledge there is a grace period of one year upon completion of studies.

For deferral of military service, the necessary documents are submitted to the Ministry of Defence by the relevant institution of higher education.

As for conscientious objection, Turkish law makes no provision for it, and Turkish men may be stripped of their citizenship for refusing to serve (Christian Science Monitor 30 July 1999; Embassy of Turkey 7 June 2000).

A news story from 1994 stated that in January 1994 the Turkish military authorities decreed that "university students who fail examinations for two successive years" would be conscripted, and that "male students should not be allowed to pursue a second decree course before doing military service" (IPS 17 May 1994). A 1999 article on military service in Turkey reports that a man was able to avoid military service by reducing his weight to below 100 pounds, which made him eligible for a disability exemption (Christian Science Monitor 30 July 1999).

Turkish men who work outside Turkey for three years can have their military service reduced to only one month if they pay the Turkish government the equivalent of US$5,200 (Christian Science Monitor 30 July 1999).

In 1999 the Turkish parliament, the Grand National Assembly, passed a draft bill which allows men born before 1 January 1973 to avoid military service (except for basic training) by paying a "military exemption tax" equivalent to 15,000 Deutsche Marks (Anatolia 7 Oct. 1999; Turkish Press Review 3 Nov. 1999). Men who were over 40 years of age on 31 December 1999, by paying the equivalent of 20,000 Deutsche Marks, can avoid military service and are also exempt from basic training (ibid.; Anatolia 7 Oct. 1999).

Additional information on issues related to military service in Turkey can be found in TUR19384.E of 24 January 1995, TUR20438.E of 6 April 1995 (attachment), TUR25634.E of 22 November 1996, and TUR30675.E of 18 December 1998.

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 to refugee status or asylum.

Anatolia [Ankara, in Turkish]. 7 October 1999. "Defense Ministry Adopts Military Service Bill." (FBIS-WEU-1999-1009 7 Oct. 1999/WNC)

Christian Science Monitor [Boston]. 30 July 1999. Shira J. Boss. "Young Turks (With Cash) Dodge Draft." (NEXIS)

Embassy of Turkey, Ottawa. 7 June 2000. Telephone interview.

_____. 1 June 2000. Correspondence.

Inter Press Service (IPS). 17 May 2000. Nadire Mater. "Turkey – Human Rights: Conscientious Objectors Refuse to Fight Kurds." (NEXIS)

Turkish Press Review. 3 November 1999. "TGNA Approves Military Exemption Tax."


HTM > [Accessed 7 June 2000]

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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