Turkish Armed Forces

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Turkish Armed Forces

Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri

Image:TAF Logo.jpg
Military manpower
Conscription age20 years of age
Availabilitymales age 20–49: 16,756,323 (2005 est.)
Fit for military servicemales age 20-49: 13,905,901 (2005 est.)
Active troops 1,043,550 (Economist Intelligence Unit: Turkey 2005 p.23.)
Military expenditures
USD figure$12.155 billion (2003) [1]
Percent of GDP5.3% (2003) [2]

Turkish Armed Forces (Turkish: Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri (TSK)) consists of the Army, the Navy (includes Naval Air and Naval Infantry) and the Air Force. The Gendarmerie and the Coast Guard operate as parts of the internal security forces in peacetime and are subordinate to the Army and Navy Commands respectively. In wartime, both have law enforcement and military functions.

The Chief of General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) since August 28, 2006 is General Yaşar Büyükanıt.

After becoming a member of the NATO Alliance on 18 February 1952, the Turkish Republic initiated a comprehensive modernization program for its Armed Forces. Towards the end of the 1980s, a second restructuring process was initiated.

The TAF, with a combined troop strength of 1,043,550 soldiers (Economist Intelligence Unit: Turkey 2005 p.23), is the second largest standing force in NATO after the United States. Currently, 36,000 troops are also stationed in the north of Cyprus.


[edit] History

The first systematic Turkish Army was formed in 209 BC. The history of the Turks whose political order developed in line with their military order dates back approximately 2,215 years. This long history, which started in Central Asia, spread to all the major continents of the Old World as a result of great migrations. Turks of the Oghuz (Oğuz in Turkish) branch who established the Great Hun Empire in Eurasia and Göktürk Empire in the East also established the Seljuk Empire in the West, which played an important role in the encounter between the Turks and the European nations starting with the Battle of Manzikert (Malazgirt) in 1071 and the First Crusade in 1096.

Entering Anatolia with the historic victory at Manzikert in 1071, the Turks established the Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate which was later divided among many Turkish principalities (called Beylik) from which the Ottoman Beylik emerged as the most powerful one. Through military conquests, strategic alliances and royal marriages, the Ottoman Beylik united all the other Turkish Beyliks (principalities) of Anatolia under a single flag and became known as the Ottoman Empire, eventually spreading its power and expanding its territory with military conquests across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. At present, 39 nation-states (40 including TRNC) have emerged from the former territories of the Turkish Empire.

Over centuries, the Turkish flag flew from one end of the Empire to the other: from the Strait of Gibraltar (and in 1553 the Atlantic coast of North Africa beyond Gibraltar) in the west to the Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf in the east, from the edge of Austria, Slovakia and the hinterland beyond Ukraine in the north to Sudan and Yemen in the south. The Turks established an absolute sovereignty over the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea, Persian Gulf and parts of the Indian Ocean. Turkish Navy set sail and appeared in distant lands, from the British Isles, Iceland and Newfoundland in the west to India, Indonesia and Malaysia in the east.

Devoted soldiers as individuals, the Turks have proven themselves as a worthy army-nation in every single episode of their history. Turks do not consider being a soldier as a profession, since every Turk is regarded as a "naturally born warrior", as defined in the ancient Göktürk Inscriptions.

Having eventually lost its power as a result of geopolitical and geostrategic circumstances, the Ottoman Empire, during its final and weakest years, took part in World War I, which nevertheless provided new and legendary pages in the history of the Turkish Armed Forces. The Battle of Gallipoli and the Siege of Kut were only some of the important historic victories of the Turks in World War I, who had the upper hand in the first two years between 1914 and 1916 despite the lack of money and adequate equipment, but with superior resolve, gallantry and patriotism. The tide eventually turned against the Turks with the Arab Revolt in 1916, as the Turks not only had to fight against the Allies but also against the local population in their Middle Eastern territories as well.

The Ottoman Empire eventually surrendered its Middle Eastern territories with the Armistice of Mudros on October 30, 1918 (including Yemen and Azerbaijan which were still under Turkish control at the end of the war). The victors of World War I sent their warships to Turkey and set foot on Turkish ports, while the Ottoman Army was officially dissolved.

The demise of the Ottoman Empire, however, gave way to the rise of Turkish nationalism, and following the victory at the Turkish War of Independence, to the birth of the Republic of Turkey. The military was then reformed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkish national hero and founder of the Republic.

While the flames of World War II were approaching the Turkish borders, Turkish Army was on duty. Turkey remained neutral until the final stages of World War II and tried to maintain an equal distance between both the Axis and the Allies. However, at the Second Cairo Conference in 1943, Roosevelt, Churchill and Inönü reached an agreement on issues regarding Turkey's possible contribution to the Allies, and upon Roosevelt's request (to the annoyance of Churchill who wanted to use the strength of the Turkish Army and Air Force on the side of the Allies) it was decided that Turkey should maintain her neutrality and thus block the Axis from reaching the strategic oil reserves of the Middle East. Even though Turkey never had to fight against the Axis, the Turkish Armed Forces were fully mobilized and remained on alert throughout the war, ready to confront a possible invasion after the Axis had captured Greece and Bulgaria.

Closely monitoring the developments taking place all over the globe after World War II, Turkey attracted everyone’s attention in 1950 with the heroism of the Turkish Armed Forces which participated in the Korean War as a member state of the United Nations and suffered 731 deaths in combat.

Turkey became a member of NATO on February 18, 1952, and the Republic of Turkey initiated a comprehensive modernization program for its Armed Forces. The Turkish Armed Forces, whose power of deterrence continuously increased, proved its capabilities once more during Operation Atilla to free the Turkish Cypriots from the violence of the Greek Cypriot EOKA militants who, after expelling the British forces from Cyprus in 1960, decided that it was time to expel the Turkish Cypriots as well, with the aim of forging a union, or Enosis as they called it, with Greece.

Towards the end of the 1980s, a restructuring and modernization process has been initiated by the Turkish Armed Forces, which still continues today. The final goal of Turkey is to produce indigenous military equipment and to become increasingly self-sufficient in terms of military technologies.

Turkey is located in a vitally important and challenging region with various political regimes, religions, economic systems and military powers. Due to its dominant position surrounded by the Black, Aegean and the Mediterranean Seas, as well as the Balkans and the Middle East, it is a focal point of strategic lines beginning from Gibraltar, where land and sea lines of communication intersect, to the Middle East and Central Asia on three continents. Turkey, which controls the Turkish Straits, is also well positioned to control the Suez Canal and consequently the maritime traffic in the region.

Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia are the shortest land and air transport routes to the vast energy resources in the Middle East. Radical changes are taking place in the region around Turkey, and these changes bring great challenges with them. While the uncertainties in the content and duration of these changes continue, Turkey stands firm as an element of stability in the region.

In this environment of uncertainty, the threat to the security of Turkey is no longer comprised solely of the regional military powers, but also of political, economic and social instabilities, border disputes, struggles of power and terrorism. The conditions of the region where Turkey is located pose a clear threat to the security of the country.

In addition to the regional crises, the Turkish Armed Forces must -based on political decisions- also be prepared to respond to the crises which pose a threat to global peace.

Strictly adhering to Atatürk’s principle, "Peace at Home, Peace in the World", the Armed Forces of the Republic of Turkey will never pursue any aggressive intentions, but will take action when the independence of the Turkish state and the security and honour of the Turkish nation will be attacked; in parallel with the common ideals of international organizations and treaties of which Turkey is a member and signatory.

As a member of the NATO Alliance, the Republic of Turkey has ensured an increased sense of security to her allies and has contributed to the protection of global peace as well. Turkey continues to cooperate with NATO countries in the field of defense and fully supports the initiatives towards global disarmament and arms control. In this context, Turkey is committed to a global disarmament plan that is realized under an effective control mechanism, which does not adversely affect the security of any nation.

In an environment full of hot conflicts, Turkey, having great importance as the last link within the NATO defense chain, must have a powerful national defense capability and a strong Army that's ready to effectively react against potential dangers.

The main elements of the Turkish Defense Doctrine are the determination for national defense, NATO solidarity and loyalty to the Turkish Armed Forces.

The Armed Forces of the Republic of Turkey comprises the Army, Navy and Air Force which are subordinate to the Turkish General Staff. The General Command of Gendarmerie and the Coast Guard Command, which operate as part of the internal security forces in peacetime, are subordinate to the Land and Naval Forces Commands, respectively, in wartime.

The Chief of General Staff is the Commander of the Armed Forces. In wartime, he acts as the Commander in Chief on behalf of the President. Commanding the Armed Forces and establishing the policies and programs related with the preparation for combat of personnel, intelligence, operations, organization, training and logistic services are the responsibilities of the Turkish General Staff. Furthermore, the Turkish General Staff coordinates the military relations of the Turkish Armed Forces with NATO member states and other friendly nations.

[edit] Branches

The Turkish Armed Forces consists of five branches:

[edit] Army

Main article: Turkish Army

The Turkish Army is one of the largest standing armies in the world and the second largest army of NATO. Turkish Army can deploy up to 100,000 men to conduct joint operations at short notice. It can conduct air assault operations with a lift capability of up to 7 battalions at a time, day and night.

[edit] Air Force

Main article: Turkish Air Force

The Turkish Air Force is one of the oldest air forces in the world and operates one of the largest combat aircraft fleets of NATO. Supported by the TuAF's in-flight refueling capability, the fighter jets of the Turkish Air Force can participate in international operations and exercises on every major continent and return back to their home bases.

[edit] Navy

Main article: Turkish Navy

The Turkish Navy has historically been one of the largest sea powers of the Mediterranean. Supported by its replenishment ships, the Turkish Navy can participate in international operations and exercises on every major sea and ocean of the world. Submarines can individually navigate up to 15,000 nautical miles and return back to their home bases.

[edit] Gendarmerie

Main article: Turkish Gendarmerie

The Turkish Gendarmerie is responsible for maintaining law and order in rural areas which do not fall under the jurisdiction of regular police forces.

[edit] Coast Guard

Main article: Turkish Coast Guard

The Turkish Coast Guard is responsible for maintaining law and order in the Turkish territorial waters.

[edit] Role of the military in Turkish politics

Since Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the modern secular Republic of Turkey in 1923, the Turkish military has perceived itself as the guardian of Kemalism, the official state ideology, even though Atatürk himself insisted on separating the military from politics. The TAF still maintains an important degree of influence over Turkish politics and the decision making process regarding issues related to Turkish national security, albeit decreased in the past decades, via the National Security Council.

[edit] Humanitarian relief

Turkish Armed Forces can perform "Disaster Relief Operations" as in the 1999 İzmit earthquake in the Marmara region of Turkey. Turkish Armed Forces can conduct peace-support operations anywhere in the world with a task force of four battalions.

Considering that the TAF may increasingly participate in peace support operations during the first quarter of the 21st century, it is particularly important for the TAF to further develop its current capabilities in this field.

Apart from contributing to NATO, the Turkish Navy is also available for the Black Sea Naval Co-operation Task Group (BLACKSEAFOR), which was created in early 2004 by Turkey, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia and Ukraine for search and rescue and other humanitarian operations in the Black Sea.

[edit] References

This article contains information from the Turkish Armed Forces website, in the public domain.

[edit] See also

[edit] External link

Image:Turkish Armed Forces.gif
Turkish Armed Forces
Image:Flag of Turkey.svg
Image:Kkbrove yeni.jpg Image:Turkish Air Forces.gif Image:Turkish Gendarmerie.jpg Image:TurkishNavySeal.gif Image:Turkish Coast Guard.gif
Turkish Army Turkish Air Force Turkish Gendarmerie Turkish Navy Turkish Coast Guard

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