Turkey makes it difficult for potential conscriptees to avoid the draft, generally making exceptions only for those who are sick, disabled or homosexual. To receive an exemption based on their sexuality, men must publicly declare they are gay — a declaration that ensures discrimination will follow them for the rest of their lives. It's either that, or they must successfully hide their gay identity for a year.
As if that isn't bad enough, until last week, to receive the exemption men also had to prove their homosexuality by undergoing nude examinations and submitting photos of themselves engaged in homosexual intercourse.
Last week, however, the military silently amended the most controversial provisions in the regulation. Doctors will now merely observe the behaviors homosexuals display and the verbal declarations they make. In other words, a homosexual can choose to disclose or not to disclose his identity. If he does, this declaration will constitute the sole basis for the doctor's decision. The change represents a major step toward aligning Turkey's military with the norms for basic human rights.