Last night I saw my friend, Toygun, for the first time in several months. In early November 2003 we visited Anazarbus and in December he started his compulsory military service. 6 months later he exited the army. Toygun described his military service as very boring as he didn’t have much to do after his initial training period.
Turkey is moving towards a more professional army with less reliance on poorly-trained military service conscripts. Compulsory military service is a huge waste of money and the resources used should be put towards far more useful purposes. Having said that, military service in Turkey does provide a great discipline and development tool. Toygun himself acknowledged the military turns boys into men. He now wakes up earlier and keeps his room tidier than before!
PS: Both yesterday and today the ADSL Internet access is very intermittent, making surfing the web or sending emails extremely frustrating. I can’t complain too much, though, I could be doing military service!