3rd Corps (Turkey)
|Country||Ottoman Empire, Turkey|
|Part of||First Army|
|Garrison/HQ||Ayazağa, Şişli, Istanbul|
|Commander||Lt. Gen. Erdal Öztürk (2015)|
|Chief of Staff||Major Gen. İlyas Bozkurt (2013)|
The 3rd Corps (Turkish: 3. Kolordu) is a field corps of the Turkish Army and the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps-Turkey (NRDC-T). Headquartered at Ayazaga, Şişli in Istanbul, it is part of the First Army. It was established at Kirklareli on March 14, 1911 in the Ottoman Empire. It took part in the First Balkan War, the Second Balkan War, the Gallipoli Campaign, operations in the Caucasus 1916–1917, and operations in Palestine in 1918. It then took part in the Battles of Kutahya and Sakarya in 1921, and the Great Assault of 1922.
NATO Response Force
In 1941, the corps, as part of First Army, Catalca Area, with its headquarters at Çorlu, comprised 1st Infantry Division, 61st Infantry Division, 46th Infantry Division, and 62nd Infantry Division.
The corps received in 2001 orders from the General Staff for its transformation into a NATO Response Force Corps, which is a high-readiness, joint, multinational force that is technologically advanced, flexible, deployable, interoperable and sustainable. The process was completed in 2003, and it became one of the seven dedicated units of NATO. It was named NATO Rapid Deployable Corps- Turkey, abbreviated as NRDC-T. As a NATO Rapidly Deployable Corps, it is responsible to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
Between October 2003 and July 2004, it was assigned as NRF 1 and NRF 2, and between January–June 2007 as NRF 8.
The commander of the corps, Lt. General Ethem Erdağı was assigned as commander of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Afghanistan between February and August 2005. The corps was assigned to the ISAF in Afghanistan between August 2008 and February 2009 as well.
- 52nd Tactical Armored Division (Hadımköy, Istanbul)
- 23rd Tactical Motorised Infantry Division (Hasdal, Istanbul)
- 6th Motorized Infantry Regiment (Hasdal, Istanbul)
- 23rd Motorized Infantry Regiment (Samandıra, Istanbul)
- 47th Motorized Infantry Regiment (Metris, Istanbul)
- Mehmet Esat Bülkat (1862–1952), during the Dardanelles Campaign
- Refet Bele (1877–1967), commander during the Turkish War of Independence
- Fahrettin Altay (1880–1974), commander during the Turkish War of Independence
Trials of the commanders
Former commander of 3rd Corps, Mustafa Ethem Erdağı, who also served as commander of ISAF in Afghanistan, was tried before a military court for allegations of abusing of his power while on duty at the 8th Corps in a construction tender held in the years 2002–2003. In May 2007, he was convicted for corruption to eleven and half months in prison. Erdağı became so the highest-ranked military officer in Turkey to be prisoned. He was forced to retire by the Supreme Military Council's annual meeting in August 2007.
In the Balyoz trial (literally: Sledgehammer trial) that began in 2010, retired General Ergin Saygun was arrested and indicted for his involvement in an alleged military coup plan to overthrow the Justice and Development Party government along with some other 365 military members, which reportedly dates back to 2003. At that time, he was the commander of the 3rd Corps. The court accused him for putting 3rd Corps headquarters as the center of the coup plan. General Saygun denied the accusations of the court with the defense that at that time he had taken orders to make arrangements for the conversion of the unit into a high readiness force headquarters assigned to NATO only. Therefore, they had no time for any plot preparations. Nevertheless, he was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison. However, he was released following a heart surgery due to his critical health condition.
- III Corps (Ottoman Empire), history of the unit during the Ottoman era.
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- Mete Tunçay, "İkinci Dünya Savaşı'nın Başlarında (1939-1941) Türk Ordusu", Tarih ve Toplum, S. 35, Kasım 1986, p. 41. (Turkish)
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