Turk Silahli Kuvvetleri
Turkish General Staff

The Turkish Armed Forces is composed of Land Forces Command subordinate to the Turkish General Staff, Naval Forces Command and Air Forces Command as well as the Gendarmerie General Command and the Coast Guard Command, which are subordinate to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in peacetime and to the Land Forces and the Naval Forces Commands in wartime.

The Chief of the Turkish General Staff is responsible to the Prime Minister and is charged with the overall command and control of the Turkish Armed Forces. He is also responsible for conducting the military operations effectively and the operational readiness of Turkish Armed Forces.

The commanders of the three services (Iand, naval, air) report directly to the Chief of the Turkish General Staff. Turkish General Staff and the Ministry of National Defense work in close ,,,': coordination and cooperation to fulfill their respective responsibilities. The General Command of Gendarmerie and the Coast Guard Command, as a part of the intemal security forces, are affiliated with the Ministry of Interior Affairs at peacetime; whereas at war-time, they fall under Land Forces Command and Naval Forces Command, respectively.

In general, today the Turkish armed forces had a fairly high level of combat capability, a significant number, professional and well-trained officer corps, satisfactory technical equipment (in qualitative terms). In quantitative terms, the different equipment of the army weapons and heavy equipment - high. Turkey's army is able to meet the challenges of national defense from large-scale foreign attack and at the same time to carry out a local anti-terrorist operation in its territory. Also, the Turkish armed forces are able to take part in coalition operations involving all existing branches of the armed forces. Implementation of international and national programs for modernization and production of arms and military equipment could significantly increase the strike capabilities of the armed forces in Turkey, which will deal with current and future threats and challenges of the Turkish state.

The Turkish navy, air and ground forces need serious modernization. Many of the weapons obtained from NATO are obsolete and can be used only in limited local conflicts. In addition, the country's air defense is dependent on NATO and the US' military installations in Turkey. Moreover, there are also problems in coordination between the country's uniformed services.

The failed military coup in Turkey in July 2016 added insult to injury with thousands of career military servicemen detained. On 25 July 2016 Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced of restructuring within the Armed Forces in the wake of the attempted coup. "First of all, there is a serious need for restructuring in [public] institutions, especially the [Turkish] Armed Forces [TSK]. There is a security gap, as we have seen during the coup attempt. There are problems in [the] hierarchy between lower level and senior level [officials.] We will restructure [the army] in a manner that will resolve these problems," Yildirim said, as cited by Hurriyet Daily News.

"Structures which produce revolutions should no longer have a place within the [Turkish] Armed Forces. We need to stop it from becoming a threatů There will be such changes that they will not even dare to make an attempt," the Prime Minister stressed. The Turkish Army could be considerably weakened due to the ongoing purge and new changes announced Yildirim.





The constitution designates the chief of the General Staff as the commander of the armed forces. In wartime that officer also exercises the duties of commander in chief on behalf of the president. The chief of the General Staff is appointed by the president upon nomination by the Council of Ministers and is responsible to the prime minister in the exercise of his duties. In early 1995, the chief of the General Staff was General Ismail Hakki Karadayi, who was appointed in August 1994. The extensive authority of the Turkish chief of the General Staff contrasts strikingly with that of his counterparts in most NATO countries. He holds one of the highest positions in the government after the prime minister and is chosen strictly on the basis of seniority. As of 1994, the chief of the General Staff had always been an army officer, although an air force or naval officer might also be selected.

By law the chief of the General Staff determines the principles and policies of major programs concerned with operations, training, intelligence, and logistics. His views must be sought with respect to the military implications of proposed international treaties. He has the final say in the allocation of the military budget among programs and service branches.

The General Staff, a prestigious body that implements the decisions and guidance of the chief of the General Staff, in effect constitutes a joint headquarters with authority over the commanders of the service branches. It thus differs materially from the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, who act as the immediate military staff of the secretary of defense, subject to the latter's authority and direction, and whose chair functions as presiding officer and spokesperson for the service commanders. The Turkish General Staff headquarters is administered by the deputy chief of the General Staff, who is responsible for preparing directives representing orders emanating from the General Staff, and for assuring their proper implementation.

The General Staff organization follows the same pattern as the United States system in most respects. Its departments are J-1 (personnel, including appointments and promotions), J-2 (internal and foreign intelligence), J-3 (operations, training, organization, war planning, and exercises), J-4 (logistics), J-5 (strategic-military policies, threat planning, targeting, budget allocations, and military agreements), J-6 (communications and electronics), and J-7 (studies of military history and strategy). The Turkish representative to NATO and the Turkish military representative to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) are both attached to the office of the deputy chief of the General Staff.

Join the mailing list