On Thursday the Cyprus parliament went forward in approving a legislation that slashes mandatory military service for male Greek-Cypriot nationals from 24 months to 14 months.
Cyprus is considered one of the most militarized lands as the occupied island hosts UN peacekeepers, the Turkish occupation troops since 1974, two sovereign British military bases and a Greek army contingent.
This legislation is the most major reform that the Greek-Cypriot army has undertaken in decades and comes after much criticism, mostly from the parents of young Greek-Cypriots’ parents, who claim that the 24 month conscript takes away valuable time from education and the career growth of their sons.
The legislation states that new conscripts to the National Guard will serve for the newly determined amount of time of 14 months, while those already serving their mandatory time will see their term reduced to 18 months.
The reduction in army service terms is something that Greek-Cypriots have been waiting for over the past few years as it was a platform and election pledge by President Nicos Anastasiades when he became president in March of 2013.
Cyprus’ Minister of Defense, Christoforos Fokaides believes that the shorter mandatory military service will serve as a first step toward implementing more reforms that will result in creating a more professional army and will see a decline in draft-dodgers.
Following the legislation reducing conscription time, 3,000 new job positions have opened which are available for professional soldiers to fulfill on government contracts.