|Chief of the General Staff of Turkey|
28 August 2002 – 30 August 2006
|President||Ahmet Necdet Sezer|
|Preceded by||Hüseyin Kıvrıkoğlu|
|Succeeded by||Yaşar Büyükanıt|
August 4, 1940 |
|Years of service||1959-2006|
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.
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. 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.
In his retirement he is pursuing photography and poetry.
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.
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. 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. 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. Özkök recognized the allegations made in the Chronicle, but rejected some of the others, saying that the military would have taken the necessary precautions had they been true. 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.
- (Turkish) State Medal of Honor
- Turkish Armed Forces Medal of Honor
- Turkish Armed Forces Medal of Distinguished Service
- Turkish Armed Forces Medal of Distinguished Courage and Self-Sacrifice
- U.S. Legion Of Merit
- Albania Golden Eagle
- Pakistani Medal of Nishan-I Imtiaz
- Great Cross for Military Merit of Spain
- France Medal of Merit
- Republic of Korea Tong-Il Medal.
- Phillips, David L (September–October 2004). "Turkey's Dreams of Accession". Foreign Affairs 83 (5): 86. doi:10.2307/20034069. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
- Yekin, Murat (2008-07-12). "Hilmi Özkök, the democrat general". Turkish Daily News.
- "Özkök: Kasaptaki ete soğan doğramam". NTV-MSNBC (in Turkish). 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-11-05. "Özkök, AB üyelik süreci konusuna yoğunlaşarak, bu yönde enerji harcanması gerektiğini söyledi."
- "Özkök: I was accused of not being ‘pro-Feb. 28'". Today's Zaman. 2008-12-26. Retrieved 2008-12-25.
- "Commander of Turkish Armed Forces". Turkish General Staff Official Web Site. 2006. Archived from the original on May 3, 2006.
- "General Hilmi Ozkok". Who is who at NATO?. NATO. 2002-10-07. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
- Okusluk, Ender; Ciftci, Kursad (2004-11-21). "Ressam değilim fotoğrafla uğraşacağım". Yeni Şafak (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-08-18.
- "Özkök should be heard". Sabah. 2008-07-07. Archived from the original on 2008-07-12. Retrieved 2008-07-13.
- Tepeli, Arkin (2007). "Sakin Güç". Chronicle Dergisi (in Turkish) 8. Retrieved 2008-07-13.
- "CIA saved top general from plotters, magazine claims". Turkish Daily News. 2008-07-12.
- Opçin, Tuncay (2008-07-13). "Yakaladım Darbeni Paşa!". Yeni Aktüel (in Turkish) 157. Retrieved 2008-07-13.
- Cicek, Nevzat (2008-07-28). "Özkök’ü öldürmeyi üç kez denemişler". Taraf (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-07-28.
- "Özkök: Ben hüküm veremem, yargının işi". NTV-MSNBC (in Turkish). 2008-07-13. Retrieved 2008-11-05. "Bu yeni bir haber değil. Chronicle dergisinde çıktı. O zaman da basına yansımıştı. Benim konumumdaki kişilere karşı böyle girişimler olabilir. Güvenlikten sorumlu arkadaşlar önlemlerini alırlar. Çoğunlukla da komutana söylemezler bile. Tedirginlik yaratmamak için. O tarihlerde benim güzergâhım zaman zaman bir önlem olarak değiştirilirdi."
- Çekirge, Fatih (2008-07-07). "Askeri savcılık devreye girerdi". Hürriyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-10-23. "Böyle bir şey yok. Olsa zaten askeri savcılık müdahale ederdi. Basından öğrendiğimiz kadarıyla iddialar sanıyorum emeklilik dönemleriyle ilgili. Bu nedenle diyorum ki, eğer görevde olsalardı askeri savcılık müdahale ederdi."
- Akyol, Mustafa (2008-10-25). "The greater Ergenekon that we can't touch (II)". Turkish Daily News. Archived from the original on 2008-11-14.
|Commander of the Turkish First Army
August 20, 1999–August 21, 2000
Necdet Yılmaz Timur
|Commander of the Turkish Army
August 27, 2000–August 29, 2002
|Chief of the General Staff of Turkey
Agu 28, 2002–Agu 28, 2006