The Turkish army’s circumcision program in Kosovo in 1999:
Report transmitted by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty on 25 August 1999:
The multinational NATO-led force in Kosovo arrived in the province just over ten weeks ago to establish law and order and democracy in the province. RFE/RL correspondent Jolyon Naegele reports from the southwestern Kosovo town of Dragash that in addition to conducting standard peacekeeping duties, one Turkish KFOR battalion is engaged in circumcising young Muslim boys.
[Report by Jolyon Naegele, located in Dragash:]
In the past month, a Turkish KFOR medical team has brought nearly 150 boys in the region — Muslim Albanians and members of the Muslim Goran minority — under the knife in sterile conditions. Local parents in Gora and nearby Prizren, home to a sizable Turkish minority, have asked the Turkish Army medical team to circumcise another 300 young boys.
Circumcision, the surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis, is a traditional Muslim practice that in the Balkans and Turkey is performed on young boys in a ceremony preceded by a large family party. Over the weekend, at least two young boys in Prizren dressed up in special circumcision costumes were paraded around town on the roof of their father’s car.
Turkish battalion commander Izzet Cetingoz says the circumcision program constitutes about 10 percent of the total number of local residents whom the Turkish KFOR medical unit has treated so far.
“We have a medical team of a general surgeon under the command of a senior medical officer, a major. We have an ambulance vehicle and a nurse and every day they visit one village and they circumcise boys and the next day they come back, examine the boys and look after the other children too.” Commander Cetingoz says the medical team also provides emergency medical assistance.
“This is not the regular job of the Turkish Army. Normally we don’t do it in Turkey, but there was a need here requested of us. The children had not been circumcised up to a certain age and unfortunately we have learned that the barbers have been circumcising these boys and they were asking a price of 100 German marks. We know that these people do not have that kind of money. They are poor and we believe that we have done a very important public service.” (source)