In Turkey, all young men, apart from those exempted on health grounds, or who are sole earners for their families, must do military service.
But, money talks for those who’d rather not serve. In addition to the thriving business for doctors who are willing to write fake medical certificates, the government sometimes allows men to pay their way out, via temporary amnesty windows.
Currently, for Turks who have been living, working or studying outside of the country for more than three years, there is an option to pay 1,000 euros ($1,096) for a full exemption. For those inside the country, when there is an option to pay, it is significantly higher – up to 18,000 Turkish lira ($5,813), enough to land someone in significant debt for years to come.
Fail to report for military service when required and you will be summonsed to court and fined 100 lira ($32), with the penalty doubling with each appearance. There is no exemption for conscientious objectors.
Many Iranians also avoid conscription by living outside the country, says Potkin Azarmehr, a UK-based Iranian commentator and regime critic who left Iran as a child in 1976.