Turkish army

Turkish Land Forces
(Türk Kara Kuvvetleri)
190px
Emblem of the Turkish Army
Active Army of the Grand National Assembly: November 8, 1920[1]-
Three army inspectorates era: October 21, 1923-
Turkish Land Forces Command: July 1, 1949[2][3]-present
Country  Turkey
Allegiance Ministry of National Defence
Type Army
Size 77,000 professionals[4]
325,000 conscripts[4]
Part of Turkish Armed Forces
Motto "Peace at Home, Peace in the World"
Equipment See: Modern equipment and uniform of the Turkish Army
Engagements Turkish War of Independence
Korean War (Turkish Brigade)
Operation Atilla
UNOSOM II
KFOR
ISAF
Turkey-PKK Conflict
2012 Syrian–Turkish border clashes
Website kkk.tsk.tr/
Commanders
Commander Gen. Hayri Kıvrıkoğlu
Chief of the General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel

The Turkish Army or Turkish Land Forces (Turkish: Türk Kara Kuvvetleri) is the main branch of the Turkish Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The modern history of the army began with its formation after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Significant events since the foundation of the Army include combat in the Korean War and in the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, and acting as a NATO bulwark along Cold War frontiers through 1992. The army holds the preeminent place within the armed forces. It is customary for the Chief of the General Staff of the Republic of Turkey to have been the Commander of the Turkish Land Forces prior to his appointment as Turkey's senior ranking officer. Alongside the other two armed services, the Turkish Army has frequently intervened in Turkish politics, which has now been regulated to an extent with the reform of the National Security Council. The current commander of the Turkish Land Forces is General Hayri Kıvrıkoğlu.[5]

In 2010 the International Institute for Strategic Studies estimated that the Turkish Army had an established strength of approximately 402,000 active personnel, consisting of 77,000 professionals and 325,000 conscripts.[4] A more recent estimate (2012) put the figure at 391,000.[6]

History

Main article: Military history of Turkey

On 28 June 1963, the Turkish Army celebrated the 600th anniversary of its foundation. They accepted that it have been founded in 1363, when the Penchik corps that was the root of the Janissary corps had been formed. In the same year, one of the prominent Pan-Turanists Nihal Atsız claimed that the Turkish Army should have been founded in 209 BC, when Modu Chanyu of the Xiongnu is thought to have formed an army based on decimal system.[7] In 1968, Yılmaz Öztuna proposed to Cemal Tural, who was the chief of the General Staff of the Republic of Turkey at the time, that the year of foundation would be changed to 209 BC.[8] In 1973, when the Turkish Army celebrated 610th anniversary of its foundation, Nihal Atsız published his claim again.[9] After the 1980 Turkish coup d'état, the Turkish Army commenced to accept 209 BC, and today, the Turkish Army officially uses this date as its year of foundation.[10]

War of Independence

The modern Turkish Army has its foundations in nine remnant Ottoman Army corps[dn 1] after the Armistice of Mudros at the end of World War I. After the rise of Turkish resistances (Kuva-yi Milliye) in Anatolia, Mustafa Kemal Pasha and his colleagues formed the Grand National Assembly (GNA) in Ankara on April 23, 1920, Kâzım Pasha's XV Corps was the only corps which at that time had any combat value.[11] On November 8, 1920, the GNA decided to establish a standing army (Düzenli ordu) instead of irregular troops (Kuva-yi Milliye, Çerkes Ethem's Kuva-yi Seyyare etc.).[1]


On August 26, 1922, the Army of the Grand National Assembly[12][13] (Büyük Millet Meclisi Ordusu) launched the general offensive known as the Great Offensive (Büyük Taarruz) against the Greek forces around Kara Hisâr-ı Sâhip. Nurettin Pasha's 1st Army and Yakup Şevki Pasha's 2nd Army encircled the main body of Major General Nikolaos Trikoupis's group and defeated it near Dumlupınar. Fahrettin Pasha's V Cavalry Corps entered Smyrna (Izmir) on September 9, 1922. Şükrü Naili Pasha's III Corps entered Constantinople (Istanbul) peacefully on October 6, 1923. Subsequently to the founding of the Republic of Turkey, the Army of the GNA was reorganized into three army inspectorates (ordu müfettişliği, 1st, 2nd and 3rd army inspectorate).

During World War II, Turkey mobilized more than a million personnel. The Turkish Army order of battle in 1941 shows a number of formations. The command of the Turkish Army was formed on July 1, 1949 and Nuri Yamut was appointed as the first commander of the Turkish Army.[2]

Cold War Era

Korean War

Main article: Korean War

The Turkish Army participated in the Korean War as a member state of the United Nations, suffering 731 deaths in combat out of the 5000 soldiers of the Turkish Brigade there, which fought at battles of Kunu-ri (Kunu-ri) where it was credited with saving the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division from encirclement.[14] The brigade fought also at Gimnyangjang-ni (Kumyangjang-ni), 'Operation Ripper,' or the Fourth Battle of Seoul, and Vegas ("Vegas"). After Turkey joined NATO on February 18, 1952, the government initiated a comprehensive modernization program for its Armed Forces.

Invasion of Cyprus

In July 1974, Turkey intervened in Cyprus, following a coup organized by EOKA-B and led by Nikos Sampson who ousted the democratically elected Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios III in order to establish Enosis (Union) between Cyprus and Greece. The coup was backed by the Greek military junta in Athens.

The 1974 Turkish military operations in Cyprus can be divided into two distinct Turkish offensives, the first being "Atilla 1", which commenced in the early hours of July 20, 1974, with an amphibious landing force, directed by the 6th Corps, forming a beachhead at Kyrenia's Five Mile Beach (sa comprised only infantry troops, but was supported by rolling air and naval artillery attacks, and met with limited resistance from the Cyprus National Guard, which was in disarray as a result of the July 15, 1974 coup. The majority of fighting ceased on the 23rd of July, though sporadic clashes continued after this date until the 14th of August.[15] "Atilla 1" successfully achieved its objective of forming a bridgehead with the Turkish Cypriot enclave of Agyrta-Nicosia.[16]

The second Turkish offensive began on August 14, 1974, as Greek and Turkish Cypriot representatives met in Geneva to discuss the situation on the island. Turkish pleas for international intervention having failed and very slow diplomatic progress, in addition to being confined to an undefensible and non-viable region in Cyprus, Turkish Armed forces took action again. Despite a UN ceasefire in place (several had already been disregarded),[16] the Turkish Army, massively reinforced from weeks of build-up, launched an all-out surprise attack on ill-prepared Greek Cypriot and Greek units. With little answer to the masses of armour, mechanised units, artillery and air support that the Turks could bring to bear, virtually all Greek Cypriot defences collapsed in a matter of days, and by August 16, 1974, Turkish forces, spearheaded by the 28th and 39th Infantry Divisions, had extended to capture some 37% of the island, including the towns of Famagusta, Varosha and Morphou.[17]

The conflict in Cyprus resulted in the de facto division of the island between the Turkish Cypriot controlled north and the Greek Cypriot controlled south. Turkey still maintains troops in Cyprus, since a political solution could not yet be achieved and since many members of the Turkish Cypriot community fear a return to the intercommunal violence which occurred between 1963 and 1974.[18]

Units and equipment




According to official British military reports in 1974, the Turkish Army included the First Army (2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 15th Corps), Second Army (4th, 6th, and 7th) and Third Army (8th, 9th, and 11th Corps). There were also three Interior Zones with three recruit training divisions and four recruit training brigades.[19] For a long period, these formations were grouped under the NATO headquarters LANDSOUTHEAST at Izmir, led by a Turkish Army four-star General. After the fall of the Soviet Union the headquarters became Joint Command Southeast for a period, before becoming Allied Air Component Command Izmir in 2004.[20]

In 1981-82, the Army had one armoured division, two mechanised infantry divisions, and fourteen Infantry Divisions, with 3000 M47 MBTs, 500 M48 MBTs, as well as 70 Leopard 1A3 on order, for a total of 3570 tanks.[21]

Until the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1990, the Army had a static defense mission of countering any possible attack on Thrace by Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces and any attack by the Soviet Transcaucasus Military District on the Caucasus frontier. The Third Army was responsible for holding the Caucasus line with about one third of the Army's total strength of one armoured, two mechanised, and fourteen infantry divisions (1986 data).[22]

Nigel Thomas's NATO Armies 1949-87, published in 1988, attributed the 2nd, 3rd Corps, 5th, and 15th Corps to the First Army; the 6th and 7th Corps to the Second Army, the 4th, 8th, and 9th Corps to the Third Army, and the 11th Corps to the Aegean Army. He wrote that the 11th Corps comprised the 28th and 39th Divisions.[23]

When the General Staff attempted to shift 120,000 troops to the frontier with Iraq in 1990, they discovered, the writers of the U.S. Library of Congress Country Studies said, that there were serious deficiencies in the Army's ability to respond to crises that could erupt suddenly in distant regions.[24] The Army was even less prepared for a situation requiring the deployment and logistical support of forces in operations beyond Turkey's borders.

Modernization

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.[25]

The then-Army Commander said of further modernization efforts in 2006:

Gen. Büyükanıt, who sent crucial messages regarding the future of the Land Forces, said that the country's own instabilities should also be taken into consideration. He reported that the land forces will shrink considerably within the next eight years. But he said that despite this process, the force's capacities will be increased.

"The Land Forces aim at being equipped with new opportunities and capabilities in order to carry out its duty in full strength against a large variety of threats, varying from classical threats to asymmetrical ones.

"The targets for our land forces are to be realized through 'Forces 2014' project. This project aims to shrink the forces without undermining its combat capabilities. On the contrary, under the plan the efficiency of the force will increase.

"Within this period of time the Land Forces will gradually decrease by 20 to 30 percent in terms of number of personnel and forces formations. It will be equipped with modern arms and war devices as the distinct features of this new formation. Thus the battle capability will be given to high-ranking brigades. Moreover with the Combat Zone Management System, the land tactical map will be numerically formed in real-time or close to real-time and a constant tracking will be provided," said Büyükanıt. (The New Anatolian, Evren Değer, 10 August 2006.)[26]

At present, the primary main battle tanks of the Turkish Army are the Leopard 2A4 and the M60T. There are also around 400 Leopard 1 and 750 M60 Patton variants in service (excluding the M60T which were upgraded with the 120 mm MG253 guns), but the Turkish Army retains a large number of older vehicles. More than 2,800 M48 Pattons are still in service (upgraded with the 105 mm M68 guns) though only around 1,300 of these are stored as reserve MBTs,[27] while the rest are mostly transformed into other types of military vehicles (such as cranes, MBT recovery vehicles and logistical support vehicles) or used as spare parts resources.


Turkey plans to build a total of 1,000 new Otokar Altay MBTs, in four separate batches of 250 units, with the MİTÜP Turkish National Tank Project.[28] The tanks will be produced by the Turkish firm Otokar, and share some of the systems that are used in the K2 Black Panther main battle tank of South Korea.

Turkey has signed an agreement with the US to buy six CH-47 Chinook helicopters, for $400 million. Because of financial constraints, however, the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry, or SSM, Turkey’s procurement agency, later wanted to buy only six CH-47Fs, five for the Army and one for the Special Forces Command, leaving a decision on the remaining eight platforms for the future. Contract negotiations between the SSM, the U.S. government and Boeing were launched last year.[29]

The maximum length of compulsory military service has been reduced to a year.

NATO has said that missiles should be compatible. [30]

Structure

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2 (1)
3 (1)
5 (1)
6 (2)
7 (2)
8 (2)
4 (3)
9 (3)
Aegean
Army
Turkish Army corps locations (2008)
Key: 2 (1) - 2nd Corps, 1st Army