Turkey’s military is becoming slimmer and more professional, but military pilots are leaving service at an alarming rate, officials said. This means greater attention must be paid to the military’s training regime.

The Turkish military is made up mostly of conscripts. A decision this year to shorten their service will mean 100,000 fewer soldiers for NATO’s second largest army. While that is consistent with plans to gradually switch to a semiprofessional force structure, the military might not be able to lure as many professionals as it thinks it can.

Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz has said that in January and February alone, 163 military pilots quit service. Most of those who left were among the most experienced, officials said. […]