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Hilmi Özkök

Hilmi Özkök
Chief of the General Staff of Turkey
In office
28 August 2002 – 30 August 2006
President Ahmet Necdet Sezer
Preceded by Hüseyin Kıvrıkoğlu
Succeeded by Yaşar Büyükanıt
Personal details
Born (1940-08-04) August 4, 1940
Turgutlu, Turkey
Spouse(s) Özenç Özkök
Military service
Service/branch Turkish Army
Years of service 1959-2006
Rank General

General Hilmi Özkök (born 1940 in Turgutlu, Manisa Province) was the 24th Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces. He took up that post on August 28, 2002 and served until August 30, 2006 when he retired and was succeeded by General Yaşar Büyükanıt.

Özkök has expressed support for Turkey's alignment with the European Union, sought a reduced role for the National Security Council, and opposed his peers' plans to stage a coup.[1][2][3][4]


  • Education and personal life 1
  • Career 2
  • Awards 3
  • References 4

Education and personal life

Hilmi Özkök was born in Turgutlu, Manisa Province and has been a career soldier. He was educated at the Isiklar (Işıklar) Military High School in Bursa and went from there in 1957 to complete a two year course at the Turkish Military Academy.[5] Özkök left there as a second lieutenant in the artillery. He studied at the Army War College and the NATO Defence College in the 1970s.[6]

He is married to Özenç Özkök and has two children.[5][6]

In his retirement he is pursuing photography and poetry.[7]


After graduating from the Army War College in 1972, Özkök moved into military staff, initially with the Special Weapons Branch of the Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSOUTH), and then at SHAPE. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1984 and worked as Chief of Planning and Operations for the General Staff (TGS). From 1986-1988 he commanded the 70th Infantry Brigade and on his promotion to Major General in 1988 he commanded the 28th Infantry Division. He returned to the TGS in 1990 and was promoted to Lieutenant General in 1992 when he was sent to Brussels to head the Turkish NATO Military Delegation for three years.[6]

On August 30, 1996 Özkök was promoted to full general and took charge of the NATO Allied Land Forces South-Eastern Europe (LANDSOUTHEAST) located in İzmir.[6] He returned again to the TGS in 1998, this time as Deputy Chief. After a brief stint as the Commander of the First Army in Istanbul, he was made Commander of the Turkish Army in 2002, succeeding Hüseyin Kıvrıkoğlu. He served as Chairman until his retirement on August 30, 2006. The Chronicle said that during his tenure as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he opposed the plans of some of his peers who wanted to stage another coup d'etat and narrowly evaded assassination with a tip-off from the CIA on 3 February 2004.[8][9][10][11] Major general Fehmi Büyükbayram of the Ankara central garrison changed Özkök's schedule in order to protect him. Another attempt was allegedly prevented with a tip-off from the United Kingdom.[12] Özkök recognized the allegations made in the Chronicle,[13] but rejected some of the others, saying that the military would have taken the necessary precautions had they been true.[14] In a 2007 interview Özkök said that he did not eat from the army canteen. People inferred that he feared poisoning, but Özkök replied that he merely wanted healthier food.[15] A common complain against him by his former colleagues has been that he often seem ovoiding alochol, as an admiral in turkish navy wrote in his personal diary "what we found in his (ozkok) glass turned out to be coca cola while he was pretending to be drinking [16]



  1. ^ Phillips, David L (September–October 2004). "Turkey's Dreams of Accession".  
  2. ^ Yekin, Murat (2008-07-12). "Hilmi Özkök, the democrat general".  
  3. ^ "Özkök: Kasaptaki ete soğan doğramam".  
  4. ^ "'"Özkök: I was accused of not being ‘pro-Feb. 28.  
  5. ^ a b "Commander of Turkish Armed Forces". Turkish General Staff Official Web Site. 2006. Archived from the original on May 3, 2006. 
  6. ^ a b c d "General Hilmi Ozkok". Who is who at NATO?. NATO. 2002-10-07. Retrieved 2008-08-17. 
  7. ^ Okusluk, Ender; Ciftci, Kursad (2004-11-21). "Ressam değilim fotoğrafla uğraşacağım".  
  8. ^ "Özkök should be heard". Sabah. 2008-07-07. Archived from the original on 2008-07-12. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  9. ^ Tepeli, Arkin (2007). "Sakin Güç". Chronicle Dergisi (in Turkish) 8. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  10. ^ "CIA saved top general from plotters, magazine claims".  
  11. ^ Opçin, Tuncay (2008-07-13). "Yakaladım Darbeni Paşa!".  
  12. ^ Cicek, Nevzat (2008-07-28). "Özkök’ü öldürmeyi üç kez denemişler".  
  13. ^ "Özkök: Ben hüküm veremem, yargının işi".  
  14. ^ Çekirge, Fatih (2008-07-07). "Askeri savcılık devreye girerdi".  
  15. ^  
  16. ^
Military offices
Preceded by
Çevik Bir
Commander of the Turkish First Army
August 20, 1999–August 21, 2000
Succeeded by
Necdet Yılmaz Timur
Preceded by
Atilla Ateş
Commander of the Turkish Army
August 27, 2000–August 29, 2002
Succeeded by
Aytaç Yalman
Preceded by
Hüseyin Kıvrıkoğlu
Chief of the General Staff of Turkey
Agu 28, 2002–Agu 28, 2006
Succeeded by
Yaşar Büyükanıt


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