Conscription exemption fee rise pushes Turks to German citizenship

March 01, 2012, Thursday/ 15:33:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH WIRES

The number of Turks in Germany opting to become German citizens has increased since the fee for Turkish citizens to receive an exemption from completing their mandatory military service was increased from 5,000 to 10,000 euros in December of last year.

“The Bill Amending the Law on Military Service” went into effect at the end of 2011 and according Selim Çukurkaya, the vice consul general of the Turkish Consulate General in Munich, there has been an increase in Turks in Germany opting to become German citizens in order to avoid having to pay such a fee.

Despite the fact that there are no concrete figures on the issue, Çukurkaya told the Cihan news agency that before the passage of the bill two or three young men used to come to the consulate daily to apply for their military service, but since the new year this figure has fallen considerably with only eight applications received by the office in the past two-and-a-half months.

“Immediately before the new bill was passed there was a large influx of applicants for their military service, but since the passage of the new law young men are increasingly viewing becoming a German citizen as a more appealing option than paying the extra 5,000 euros,” Çukurkaya said, adding that for most young men paying 10,000 euros to receive an exemption is viewed as too expensive

The vice consul general added that Turks applying to become German citizens is the second most common transaction that the Munich office carries out after passport-related transactions.

Twenty-five-year-old Ümit Gündüz said he was delaying doing his military service until he was 38. “The new figure is very high. I have a lot of time left to make a decision so I am just going to wait and see what the developments are. If the situation gets worse I can always opt to become a German citizen at any time.”

Out of 101,000 people who chose to become German citizens in 2010, 26,192 were Turks. This was an increase from 2009 when 24,647 Turks in Germany decided to acquire German citizenship. The figures for 2011 have not yet been released.

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