Is There a Penalty for Hiring a Deserter?

Is There a Penalty for Hiring a Deserter?

One of the personnel documents that the employers request before a male employee starts work is the document showing the military status. What is the purpose of this document? 

It is a legal obligation for a Turkish male citizen to fulfill his military service between the ages of 20-41, determined as military age. Relevant laws impose certain penalties for those who refrain from fulfilling their duty except in exceptional cases specified in the law. The criminal procedure is applied not only to the person who is in the illegal but also to the employers who employ them.

Who is a Deserter? 

In Turkey, military service is carried out within 21 years, starting from the first day of January of the year when a male Turkish citizen turns 20, and ends on the first day of January of the year when he turns 41. The duration of the military service is 6 months. The military status of those who continue their education can be postponed by taking into account the age limits in the law.

Those who escape from fulfilling their military service are generally described as “deserters”. However, military operations start with the roll call phase. Roll calling means determining whether the person who has reached military service age is suitable for military service. Persons who do not have a roll call within the period determined by the law without any excuse are referred to as “roll call evaders” or “draft dodger”.

Persons initially participating in the roll-call but do not surrender to the unit in the specified period to serve, are called bakaya. 

“Deserter”, on the other hand, refers to people who are on the run and who are on the run without getting permission while performing their military service.

What is the Penalty for Recruiting a Deserter?

Employers’ responsibility on this issue is included in the Military Penal Code No. 1632. This law also stipulates penalties for those who help escape from military service, facilitate evasion and provide jobs for these people.

Military Criminal Law No. 1632

“Penalties of those who helped fugitives

Article 75 – 1 – (Amendment: 30/4/1945-4726/2 art.) Reserve officers and reserve non-commissioned officers who incite soldiers to flee or facilitate their escape or the continuation of the fugitives, unauthorized, counterfeiters, fugitives, inmates who have not been summoned and those who knowingly take reserve military officers into private and official service or those who do not dismiss them from their private jobs by any means whatsoever in the state, provinces and municipalities and in all organizations and institutions under their control, and in associations and professional organizations working for banks and public benefit, and those who do not dismiss their private jobs upon notification from the Government are subject to jail time from three months to one year and from one year to three years in recurrence, from six months to two years in mobilization or state of emergency, and a heavy imprisonment of up to seven years in case of repetition of this action during mobilization or state of emergency.”

It is forbidden to employ draft evaders, ministers or deserters in all institutions and organizations. Employers who do not comply with this prohibition can be punished with imprisonment from 3 months to 1 year (up to 3 years in case of recurrence) in peacetime. If it is determined that they employ these people during war / mobilization / state of emergency, imprisonment of 6 months to 2 years (up to 7 years in case of recurrence) may be imposed.

If a person who has refrained from fulfilling his military service within the age range of 20-41, as determined by law, cannot be excused of the fugitive status, even if he has passed the legal age range. Regarding this issue, the Law No. 7179 contains the following provision:

“Military service age and service period

ARTICLE 5-…. (11) No obliged party can be excluded from the military service age unless he performs or is deemed to have served in active duty apart from the principles determined in this law. “

In other words, even if the military service period of the illegal worker is past, the obligation to go to the military does not disappear, and the criminal responsibility of the employer continues.

Military Status as a Personnel Document

Due to the heavy penalty for employing deserters, the military service documents required as personnel documents in recruitment procedures should be carefully examined.

Male workers must obtain a document showing their military service status, submit it to the relevant unit at the workplace, and record this document in their personnel file.

Terms for Military Service Related Personnel Documents

Postponed: Military service can be postponed for a certain period of time and for various reasons such as health problems or continuing education. Licensed athletes and people whose siblings are in the military can also postpone their military duty.

These persons should fulfill their military service in the absence of a new postponement when the postponement period is completed. After the postponement date on the document expires, the military status certificate must be once more requested from the employee.

Exempted: Persons who are determined to be unfit for military service during medical examinations or persons with certain exceptional conditions recognized in the relevant law are registered as exempted from military service.

Fulfilled/Discharged: Regardless of mandatory or paid military service, those who have completed their military service need to have the statement “has fulfilled military service” in their personnel files.

The documents in question can be accessed via e-Government.

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