Netherlands: Paying for Turkish army duty

Turkish civil servants in Leiden must from now on buy out their army service on their own, as the municipality will not pay for it anymore, after questions from the ChristianUnion party.

Dutch with Turkish nationality must serve in the Turkish army. they can buy off the obligation for 5,100 euro, but must in any case go through basic training. Since 1995 the Leiden municipality paid half of the sum and the special leave needed for training. This cost the municipality on average about 6,000 euro per Turkish worker.

At the time Leiden was in need of employees. In 1995 three Turkish workers had to go for their army duty at the same time, and disappeared for a longer time. The municipality then decided to partially pay the redemption fee, also because hiring temporary workers would have turned out to be more expensive. Currently Leiden is still paying for one worker.

The ChristianUnion thinks it is unjust that Turkey profits from the Dutch by imposing army service, and the city college agrees. It stresses that the regulation contributed, on the other hand, to the diversity of personnel.

Leiden has a generous policy compared to other authorities. Other large municipality are thriftier or don't have such a regulation. The ministry of defense offers Turkish civil servants an interest free loan and paid leave for twenty days. Leiden is considering also providing a rent-free loan.

Minister Guusje ter Horst (internal affairs) thinks police agents with double nationality should not get paid leave for the time period they spend in their homeland, particularly Turkey, doing their army duty. Ter Horst will confer with the cabinet about doing away with the leave regulation. This is necessary because other ministers do support paid leave. The ministry of defense has repeatedly said it has no problems with such a rule, which holds for both police agents and soldiers.

The ministry of the interior wants to keep the interest-free loan, but will make sure that all police corps offer it with the same conditions.

CDA parliamentarian Maarten Haverkamp asked the minister to stop the paid leave. He thinks police agents can make use of vacation days and regular leave agreements. "We must not make an exception for agents with double nationality."

Last year the defense ministry checked how often soldiers make use of the interest-free loan and paid leave offer: seven times since 2002.

Source: AD, Telegraaf (Dutch)

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