Turkey must not draft its dual nationals

5th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

5 October 2007, AMSTERDAM (dpa) - Dutch legislators, debating problems faced by dual Turkish-Dutch nationals, Thursday said NATO action is required against the drafting of Turkish Europeans.

5 October 2007

AMSTERDAM (dpa) - Dutch legislators, debating problems faced by dual Turkish-Dutch nationals, Thursday said NATO action is required against the drafting of Turkish Europeans.

Under Turkish law, all Turkish nationals are obligated to serve in the army for a total of 18 months, even if they live abroad or were born abroad.

Turkish nationals can avoid army service if they pay EUR 5,500 to the Ankara government. In that case, they will only be drafted to perform a three-week military training.

In theory, however, they are counted among the Turkish reservists and can, in principle, be drafted by the Turkish military in an emergency.

Turkish nationals who neither serve in the army nor pay off their 18-month duty with the EUR 5,500 risk being arrested upon arrival on Turkish territory.

All parties in the Netherlands want this situation to change, albeit each for different reasons. They asked The Hague government to undertake action, preferably in a NATO context.

Ideally, the parties believe a new arrangement should be drafted with Turkey for nationals who live beyond Turkish borders.

The Freedom Party (PVV) and the Liberals (VVD) argued that Turkish-Dutch nationals should relinquish their Turkish citizenship so that the problem would disappear by itself.

Until that happens, PVV leader Wilders said, the Dutch professional military should no longer accept Turkish-Dutch recruits.

New recruits with dual nationality should not be accepted into the army, Wilders said, and contracts of those already serving in the army should not be renewed.

Legislators for the Christian Democrats (CDA), Labour (PVDA) and the Christian Union (CU) said the obligatory army service obstructs the integration process of Turkish-Dutch citizens.

The Socialist Party (SP) criticised what it called "Turkish long- distance nationalism" aimed at "maintaining a strong hold on Turkish men beyond its geographical borders."

Several Dutch legislators pointed to conflicting interests for Turkish-Dutch nationals who serve in the Dutch army.

One example was a hypothetical case in which Turkey would want to draft reservists to fight the Kurds.

The legislators responded with surprise to a remark by their colleague Karien van Gennip (CDA) that many Turkish-Dutch nationals would refrain from travelling to Turkey to avoid being arrested for avoiding obligatory army service.

According to Van Gennip, there were rumours of a Dutch soldier of Turkish origin who refrained from travelling to Turkey in 2003 out of fear of being arrested upon arrival.

Van Gennip demanded more information from the government about the rumours.

Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen (Christian Democrats) said he had not heard such rumours before but would check with Defence Minister Meindert van Middelkoop (Christian Union).

A Defence ministry spokesman later told reporters the matter would be investigated, but that the rumours were new to the minister.

[Copyright dpa 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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