long time since i ranted here.  nice weather, too many distractions, and other assorted excuses kept me on a short-leash.  with the weather turning, back on the keyboard tapping away.

turkish media has been reporting possible new legislation to enable the conscripted recruits to pay their ways out of the mandatory military service, by serving 21 days of basic training, and in some cases not even serving that, if they agree to pay handsomely, in euros.  this is not new– turkish males, who have mandatory military service based on the constitution, but who have been living and working abroad for at least three years have always been able to do that.  also, after the terrible istanbul earthquake of 1999, the same was offered to turkish citizens sans the live/ work abroad limitation.

the new proposal, as the wsj reported yesterday,  may be offered to all turkish males over the age of 25 without any requirements.  the government is proposing a sliding scale for what you have to pay depending on your age.   according to the wsj, the government may raise up to $1.5B with this system…

this comes at a very interesting juncture– the turkish military is fighting threats of terrorism in eastern and southeastern turkey.  the need for a strong military is extremely crucial- at least for the foreseeable future.   but why is the government backing this proposal up?

the current administration in turkey has been boasting about “turkey’s strong economy” and the “strength of the lira” for the last year or so.  prime minister erdogan declared success on the economy without any reservations.  however, the people are taxed beyond reason, especially in consumer goods and imports.  the administration, like the administrations before, failed immensely in collecting corporate taxes.  same goes for taxing the rich.  the middle class bears all the burden– taxes on import electronics and cars may reach or exceed 200%.   the government, it seems, can only collect taxes from those on a salary or at the point of sale.

in my recent trips to turkey, i was always handed new banknotes.  the country is chuck full of new money.  feels like the administration is inflating the economy with newly coined currency, creating a huge bubble.

and now this– attempting to create a huge revenue stream with having citizens pay their way out of the military service when the military is most needed.  of course tens of thousand will not be able to afford the fee they suggest.  even if they agree on an installment plan from the government.   the current proposal, with its sliding scale, suggesting up to 25,000 euros for the very young with a minimum of 5,000 euros at a minimum,  even paid in installments, with the net minimum wage set at 512 liras per month, which is slightly less than $300, would be impossible to pay by the majority of the population.

moreover, despite the administrations insistent mantra of a strong lira, this payment scale is set in euros, showing how much real confidence the administration has in its national currency.

this just goes on to add to the signs– turkish economy, with all the administration’s propaganda, is actually an overinflated artificial bubble and it is about to burst.   with the administration’s utter eagerness to back up this conscription legislation, and knowing, in turkey, people do not tend to act till the very last second, i fear the bubble will burst come february or march.  hope i am wrong…

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