Special Forces (Turkish Armed Forces)

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Maroon Berets
Special Force Command Insignia, worn by OKK
Active 1952–present[1]
Country  Turkey
Branch Turkish Armed Forces
Type Special Forces
Role Unconventional warfare
Special operations
Combat Search and Rescue
Size Classified (est. 5000[2]) (2007)
Garrison/HQ Ankara
Nickname(s) Maroon Berets
Bordo Bereliler
Motto(s) Death comes with us
Colors Maroon     (claret red)

İstiklâl Marşı

(English: Independence March)
Lieutenant General Zekai Aksakallı

The Special Forces (Turkish: Özel Kuvvetler), nicknamed Maroon Berets (Turkish: Bordo Bereliler) because of their distinctive service headgear, are a special operations unit of the Turkish Armed Forces made up of volunteer Turkish Army officers after graduating a roughly 4-year training period. The Special Forces is not aligned to any of the three Turkish branches of TAF, receiving its orders directly from the General Staff of the Republic of Turkey.[3][4] Its forerunner was the Special Warfare Department (Turkish: Özel Harp Dairesi)

Although the Special Forces is considered a division-level formation, this includes non-combatant units and administrative duties personnel as well, while the number of trained combatants stand at about 500 personnel.[5]


Volunteers initially face a pass/fail written exam as well as physical and psychological tests. Those who pass the exams become special forces candidates. Adequate linguistic skills in at least one foreign language is a plus for admission. The candidates then have to complete a challenging training period which lasts around 120–260 weeks. Many drop out during this intense training period. Training encompasses: fitness; obstacle courses; a range of martial arts; high-altitude mountain warfare school; close quarters combat (CQC); biological/chemical/nuclear warfare; parachuting; diving; sniping; demolition; counter-terrorism; search and rescue; stealth search and destroy; reconnaissance; and survival. Learning foreign languages is a part of the training. During the training, candidates are pushed by their instructors to their limits, both physically and mentally. The training schedule includes all aspects of a modern-day regular and psychological warfare. 100 kilometer terrain-walking with a 40 kg. load is an example of what the candidates have to go through during training.

Trust Shot training program[edit]

The Trust Shot (in Turkish "Gūven Atışı") is a part of the MB's training program. It is exercised on the last month of the training and is to ensure that the soldiers can trust each other with their lives. The Trust Shot consists of two members of a squad standing next to paper target boards, while another member fires on the targets with a handgun while walking towards them from 15 meters (49 feet) away. During the exercise the men standing next to the targets are not allowed to move or wear body armor. They are one of the few special operations teams in the world to perform the trust shot.[6]


Within the OKK, there is a more specialized unit, the name of the unit is Combat Search and Rescue (Muharebe Arama Kurtarma – M.A.K.), its duties focus more on rescue of TSK members who stay behind the enemy lines, MAK can conduct attack on enemy at the same time. No further information is available on MAK except for the fact that it is thought to be established and organized like its US counterpart Pararescue. Its members are selected from the OKK. It should not be difficult to conclude that the MAK members are the best of the best within the Turkish Armed Forces.


"Special Forces term" military terminology has entered the nineteenth century. Therefore vital roles in the wars undertaken by the Special Forces of history, although very new.We applied the depths of history in terms of single and tasks, particularly Turks, Huns and other Turkish skillfully used the boy "AKINCILAR" 'to extend it. Turkish army throughout history have always given the great struggle against more powerful units and used special operation force applying techniques in a modern sense.

"AKINCILAR" taking place at the front of the army back to the Ottoman period in the enemy lines like a storm", they created the first Special Forces in a sense. War in the national army needed personnel, weapons, ammunition, vehicles and supplies of Anatolia to the National Struggle against one side of the occupying forces, four of the country with shipping initiating execution and front occupation army to the strikes that hit the scoreboard with Special Organization in the back, today the Special Forces tasks, has been with the organization in fulfilling period. Republican period, the most serious exam in the emancipation of the Turkish Cypriots were not taking part in the Turkish Resistance Organization.

The core of today's special Forces; 2nd World War following the Soviet Union on the creation of a major threat to Turkey, Armed Forces of the operation, in order to facilitate the activities that will be carried out behind enemy.In 1952, when the Supreme Defence Council and National Hunting Association was established as a branch of the land. Since its inception, it continued development in accordance with the requirements of the modern age, and in 1992, under the TSK (Turkish Armed Forces) reorganization has taken the name of the Special Forces. The Special Forces have been organized within the school and support the troops. Each foundation of the Special Forces team is composed of experts in their fields.

Special Aviation Group[edit]

Special Aviation Group provides helicopter support for command's missions. The helicopters have been modernized and can operate in night/day, integrated and in sync.[7][8][9][10]

There is no clear information about fixed wing planes in the Group but its believed that there are planes too. In 2001, a CN235 crashed in Malatya and 34 soldiers lost their lives. The plane belonged to the Special Aviation Group.[11][12][13] [14]

Northern Iraq Operations[edit]

Turkish special forces has conducted operations in Northern Iraq since 1990's. Which is to seek and destroy PKK camps in Northern Iraq which was a threat to Turkey on Kurdish–Turkish conflict (1978–present). Turkish special forces carried out there operations all successful and destroying PKK camps.

Its still unknown or not published in the media that the OKK has conducted operations in Syria and Northern Iraq.


Maroon Berets
Pistols HK USP, SIG P226, SIG P229
Assault Rifles M4A1, Heckler & Koch HK416, MKEK MPT, AKM, IMI Tavor TAR-21,
Smg HK MP5,
Sniper Rifles KNT-308, Sako TRG, CheyTac Intervention, Dragunov sniper rifle, Barrett M82, Accuracy International Arctic Warfare, MKEK JNG-90, M110


  1. ^ Uslu, Emrullah (July 10, 2008). "Tackling the PKK: New Directions for Turkey's Special Forces". TerrorismMonitor. Jamestown Foundation. VI (14): 9–11. 
  2. ^ http://www.haber7.com/guncel/haber/255776-tsk-bordo-bereli-sayisini-artiyor
  3. ^ askerenes.blogcu.com/ozel-kuvvetler-komutanligi/1756260
  4. ^ "Onlar TSK'nın bel kemiği - Sayfa 8 Sabah - Fotohaber - Gündem - 05 Eylül 2015 Cumartesi". sabah.com.tr. Retrieved 2015-09-05. 
  5. ^ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/tu-army-okk.htm
  6. ^ "TSK: Öyle bir atış şekli yok, 'güven atışı' var - Hürriyet Gündem". hurriyet.com.tr. Retrieved 2015-09-05. 
  7. ^ "HELICOPTER AVIONICS MODERNIZATION - Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc.". tai.com.tr. Retrieved 2015-09-05. 
  8. ^ "HELİKOPTER MODERNİZASYON PROGRAMLARI - TUSAŞ-Türk Havacılık ve Uzay Sanayii A.Ş.". tai.com.tr. Retrieved 2015-09-05. 
  9. ^ "Türkiye'nin yeni Karaşahini: T-70 Helikopteri". kokpit.aero. Retrieved 2015-09-05. 
  10. ^ Piri Medya. "Bordo Bereliler 'Yarasa' ile uçacak". yenisafak.com.tr. Retrieved 2015-09-05. 
  11. ^ "34 aslan şehit oldu". hurriyet.com.tr. Retrieved 2015-09-05. 
  12. ^ "BBC News | EUROPE | Military plane crashes in Turkey". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-05. 
  13. ^ "CNN.com - Turkish military plane crash kills 34 - May 16, 2001". edition.cnn.com. 2001-05-16. Retrieved 2015-09-05. 
  14. ^ "TURKEY - Military plane crashes, killing 37". hurriyetdailynews.com. Retrieved 2015-09-05. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Lale Sariibrahimoglu, 'Live-fire exercises shine spotlight on Turkey's special forces,' Jane's Defence Weekly, 7 January 2004