They used to ask me why my name was such and such. No bad intentions. There were five of us, non-Muslims, coming from Tokat, where we had the basic training. I was the only Rum (of Greek origin), the rest were Armenians. We were sent to different units. When I learned that I was going to be stationed in the First Company, I was not happy about it. In the beginning, I used to sit by myself in the dining hall. I would not say they were marginalizing me, but not knowing anyone, and being shy, I did not know what to do. In the beginning, you don’t know anyone. They had said that non-Muslims are never given arms. So I assumed that I would be given duties in the kitchen or something. However, it turned out that, as a non-Muslim, I was one of the most active soldiers. They used to say that non-Muslims were not given ranks. It depends on whether they like you and whether there is demand. Being from Istanbul means a lot in a situation where there is a lack of trained guys. You tell the guy to turn right and he turns left. Although I was not well educated, I ended up becoming a corporal. The other guys were high school graduates, but their high schools are like primary schools here in Istanbul. They were giving tests before assigning those ranks and I became a corporal as a result of those tests.
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