Evaluation of compulsory military service in Turkey using a population representation model
Eitelberg, Mark J.
Hatch, William D.
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Most Western states have adopted an all-volunteer military force in response to shifting security needs, asymmetric threats, sociopolitical trends, technological advancements, and economic demands. In contrast, Turkey has depended on a military draft since its inception. Some observers have recently questioned whether Turkey’s draft is due for major overhaul. Critics claim that Turkey’s military should have more high-quality professional soldiers and that its draft is fundamentally unfair, somewhat ineffective, and out of step with modern times. In essence, they ask whether Turkey’s old ways of populating the military can be improved. The present study uses a Population Representation Model, first developed in the United States, to evaluate Turkey’s military draft and the potential to establish an all-volunteer force. The model includes three basic criteria: political legitimacy, social equity, and military effectiveness. The results of applying these criteria to the situation in Turkey reveal relatively strong legitimacy under the current draft, specific issues relating to equity, and certain changes in the current draft that may possibly improve effectiveness. Nevertheless, the study indicates that abolishing compulsory military service in Turkey could create several complicated problems. Further study is recommended regarding the effect of contracting privates on the Turkish Armed Forces.
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