Dedicated, professional military units planned to protect Turkey's borders
Turkey plans to protect its borders with specially trained professional soldiers who would be assigned for a period of 5-10 years, the government announced Tuesday. The government's plan to establish the specialized professional military units was voiced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his meeting with main opposition Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Masum Turker on Tuesday. Erdogan also shared plans with Turker to establish 150 new police stations at critical points in the region, strengthen human-based intelligence, and prepare the government to meet the military's further demands for anti-terrorist measures. Military service is mandatory for Turkish men, and many of the soldiers who died in a recent wave of terrorist PKK attacks have been part of this conscription corps. Yet Turkey also maintains a professional corps made up of paid military personnel who serve longer than the draftees. Speaking to reporters yesterday, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said the General Staff is still working on the issue of the new border units, adding that the government is looking into whether a new law or simply changes to current law are needed. After the special soldiers' tour of duty is completed, they will be employed in state institutions, Erdogan said. Technical questions, such as how and where these soldiers will be educated, are also being looked at, Gonul said.