I reported to my unit on November 11, 1960 at Mamak. It was a period of revolution, and I was in Talât Aydemir’s unit.
One day while training, the squadron commander called me and asked: “Are you the hodja?” He added: “My wife is ill. I’ll bring her and you can ‘read’ (prayers) to her.” I replied: “I don’t know how to ‘read’ like that. If you believe reading will be effective, you can do it.” Later I came to understand that he had been testing me. In later days, he protected me a lot. They gave me a comfortable job: radio operator.
As I was not fully fulfilling my military duty, I thought that the military’s food would not be halal (religiously lawful) for me. I even bought my uniform from a military student. I had reported for service in November. In December, the Talât Aydemir event exploded. And Mamak, with its 15,000 personnel supported it.
Although Aydemir had been a part of the May 27th revolution, he later revolted against his fellow comrades. If he had been successful, he would have been another Mussolini. He and his supporters were all potential dictators, and they mocked spirituality.
Eight months after I had reported to service, lots were drawn and I was sent to Iskenderun. There, I spent my spare time reading the Qur’an and other books. There was a very good commander here who insisted that I read the Western classics. As a result, I read both Western and Eastern Islamic and non-Islamic classics. Once I was so malnourished that I had to be hospitalized for exhaustion and jaundice. After I was released, they gave me a 3-month leave for a change in climate. I returned to Erzurum, which I had left 4 years earlier. While I was in Erzurum, I went back and forth to the Halk Evi (People’s House). Once I gave a seminar there on Mevlana Rumi.
Three months later I returned to my unit. I eventually completed my military service and was discharged. I returned to Erzurum and then again went to Edirne.