October 24, 2012 – todayszaman.com | turkishweekly.net – ANKARA – The Turkish General Staff has decided to transport soldiers to and from their military units by air in an attempt to prevent further deaths, primarily in the Turkey’s Kurdish region (northern Kurdistan) in the southeast of the country, where tense military operations are ongoing against the rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Today`s Zaman reported.
The decision has received a thumbs-up from prominent terrorism experts in the country who defined it as “belated but still very positive.”
The deal, agreed upon on Monday and carrying a price tag of $11 million to be paid by the Ministry of Defense to THY, aims to boost the security of conscripts.
The new regulation will be put into effect soon and is expected to be fully implemented by January or February 2013.The General Staff sent a statement to all military units last week in which it said soldiers serving in terror-stricken parts of the country are to be transported to their military units and taken back to their hometowns via military helicopters or civilian planes. Acting on the statement, authorities from the Ministry of Defense began holding meetings with Turkey’s leading aviation company, Turkish Airlines (THY), to reach an agreement for soldiers to be transported via THY planes.It is estimated that approximately 400,000 soldiers will use helicopters or planes every year to travel to their military units or hometowns. THY Chairman Hamdi Topçu spoke to the press on Tuesday and said soldiers will travel on THY planes free of charge. “Our talks with the Ministry of Defense are continuing. We are working on the details,” he said.