You Can’t Finish Your Military Service by Running Away from It; You Have to Go Through It

  • Nadire Mater


The first day I went there, three of us slept in one bed. When I look back, I recall thinking, “Can one go through 548 days?” It was just the second day. … The marches we sang during walking, running, going to the dining hall were all heroic folksongs. When you spend two to three sleepless days and stay in the cold, you ask yourself, “Why do I stay sleepless? Why do I lead a miserable life?” And your answer is, “Because of those mean terrorists.” That’s how you are prepared for the experience. Those who say that they didn’t try to find a high-ranking officer to interfere with the lots and prevent being sent to the East, are lying. I found a high-ranking officer who said that I have a 90 percent chance of being sent to Ankara and 60 percent to Samsun. I was laughing while marches were being sung. As the others were singing, “We will shoot, we will cut, we are coming / We will not leave stone on stone, head on shoulder,” I was saying, “You go and do all these things, I will be in Ankara or Samsun anyway.” If 9,000 soldiers were drawing lots, at least 8,500 of them go to the East. During the training, they say, “Come and do it properly so that you don’t go home in the cargo section of the airplane but in the passenger seat; let the stewardess serve you.” Information about the martyrs is usually archived—How did it happen? What caused his death? and so on. We got this information in Kurtalan as well: Most of the soldiers are martyred not in combat, but at their posts, when asleep. … We didn’t have much of training with guns. I used about twenty-five to thirty bullets during basic training.


Military Service Basic Training Special Team Dental Technician Passenger Seat 
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© Nadire Mater, Metis Yayinlari 1998

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  • Nadire Mater

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