Special Forces Command (Turkey)

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Special Forces Command
Turkish: Özel Kuvvetler Komutanlığı
Özel Kuvvetler Komutanlığı Brövesi.png
Shoulder patch of the Special Forces Command
Active1992–present[1]
Country Turkey
BranchGeneral Staff
TypeSpecial forces
SizeBrigade[2]
Garrison/HQAnkara
Nickname(s)Maroon Berets
Bordo Bereliler
Motto(s)"The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer."[3]
Beret  Maroon (claret red)
MarchAlay Marşı (Regiment March)
Engagements
Commanders
Current
commander
Major General Ömer Ertuğrul Erbakan
Notable
commanders
Engin Alan
Zekai Aksakallı

The Special Forces Command (Turkish: Özel Kuvvetler Komutanlığı — OKK) is a division of the Turkish Armed Forces, initially established as a brigade in 14 April 1992, operating directly under the Turkish General Staff.[4] [5] According to the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) dress code, the OKK, also known as the Bordo Bereliler, are noteworthy for their distinctive maroon berets.[6][7] Their task is to carry out special operations that exceed the capabilities of other military units.[8]

History[edit]

First established on 27 September 1952 as the Special and Auxiliary Combat Troops, the OKK was renamed Mobilization Investigation Board in November 1953. On 14 December 1970, it was reorganized as the Special Warfare Department.[9] Due to the emergence of external dangers after the Gulf War and threats from the northern part of Iraq, the Special Forces Command was established as a brigade on 14 April 1992.[10] In 2006, the brigade transitioned to a division. OKK leadership was upgraded from major-general to lieutenant-general and the new division was split into the 1st and 2nd brigade with the expectation that the troop count would double from 7000 to 14,000 by 2009.[11] They ranked first among twenty-six special forces troops at the World Special Forces Championship held in Germany in 2004.[12]

In 1998, Turkey's special forces intercepted a warning intended for the PKK team in Iraq, infiltrated PKK operations and captured the commander of Kurdistan Democratic Party's (PKK) military forces, Şemdin Sakık.[13] In 1999, the Turkish Special Forces used technology given to them by the Netherlands to arrest Abdullah Öcalan, a founding member of the PKK, after he landed at the Nairobi airport in Kenya.[14] In 2014, after 49 consular employees were taken hostage by ISIS in Mosul, Special Forces Command carried out joint operations with MIT, the Turkish National Intelligence Organization, and rescued the hostages.[15] Special Forces Command took part in internal security operations during the 2015-2016 curfews in the Southeastern Anatolia Region,[16][17] Furthermore, on 21 February 2015 they participated in Operation Shah Euphrates to relocate the tomb of Suleyman Shah in Syria.[18] With the start of the operations in Syria against ISIS and PYD in 2016 during Operation Euphrates Shield, the Special Forces Command infiltrated the region and carried out exploration activities supported by the Free Syrian Army.[19] Special Forces Command also played a role in operations such as Operation Olive Branch,[20] Operation Claw (2019–2020),[21] Operation Peace Spring[22] and Operations Claw-Eagle and Tiger.[23]

The identities of Turkish Special Forces Command personnel are classified.[citation needed] Turkish SOF Officers are battle hardened, constantly operating and are active in the war on the PKK in the southeastern border region of Turkey and northern Iraq.[24][25]

Attempted coup d'état[edit]

A key figure of the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt was brigadier general Semih Terzi, who was Deputy Commander of the Special Forces at the time and the highest-ranking field commander during the coup attempt. He led a team of roughly 40 special forces operatives in an attempt to secure Special Forces Headquarters and organize attacks against government agencies and the parliament. The attempt ended in failure when OKK Senior Sergeant major Ömer Halisdemir shot and killed Terzi, disrupting the command of the rebels.[26][27]

Organization[edit]

The Special Forces are not aligned to any of the three branches of the TAF. They receive orders directly from the General Staff of the Republic of Turkey.[28] The official size of the Special Forces Command (OKK), which is publicly known as Red Berets, stands at a Division level, this includes non-combatant units and other support staff. The combatant size of the OKK is not greater than 500.[29]

Special Aviation Group[edit]

Special Aviation Group provides helicopter support for the Command's missions. The helicopters were modernized in 2015 and can operate at night or during the day.[30][31]

Training and recruitment[edit]

ÖKK recruits officers, NCOs and SNCOs almost exclusively from the Land Forces Command, Turkey's army branch. Volunteers must pass written and physical exams, and linguistic skills in at least one foreign language are beneficial toward admission.[29]

The OKK training period lasts around 3.5 years, and encompasses: unconventional warfare and various special warfare types, special operations, special reconnaissance and infiltration, covert operations, psychological warfare, underwater operation, static parachute and HALO (night and day jump), counter-terrorism in residential areas, close-quarters combat, resisting torture and interrogation techniques, ambush, raid, sabotage, escape, VIP protection, marksmanship, intelligence, languages, survival, operation in deep snow, extreme weather, bomb disposal, demolition, fire arrangement, damage detection, and TCCC.[29]

Recruits must undergo:

  • Domestic training (72 weeks)
  • International training (10 to 52 weeks, depending on rank)
  • Specialty training

After graduating from Special Operations Training, commandos are tested before they officially become Maroon Beret officers. They are expected to survive in all environmental conditions, so as part of the final testing stage teams of recruits are left in different environments for two weeks, with no equipment or help.

On the last month of training, called the "hell month", Maroon Berets receive training in interrogation and torture, and undertake a Trust Shot (Turkish: Güven Atışı) exercise. In this exercise, two members of a squad have to flank paper target boards while the third advances from 15 m (49 ft) and shoots at the targets with live ammunition. Those flanking the targets are not permitted to move or wear body armor.[32]

Equipment[edit]

Maroon Berets
Pistols HK USP, SIG P226, SIG P229, Sarsilmaz Kilinc 2000 Mega, Sarsilmaz Kilinc 2000 Light, Glock 17, Glock 19
Shotguns Benelli M4 Super 90
Assault rifles CAR-15, Heckler & Koch HK416, M4A1, IWI Tavor TAR-21
Submachine guns HK MP5, MP7A1, FN P90
Sniper rifles KNT-308, Sako TRG, CheyTac Intervention, Barrett M82, Accuracy International Arctic Warfare, MKEK JNG-90, M110, McMillan Tac-50, Remington MSR & Accuracy International AX50, KNT-76

Source:[33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Uslu, Emrullah (10 July 2008). "Tackling the PKK: New Directions for Turkey's Special Forces". Terrorism Monitor. Jamestown Foundation. VI (14): 9–11. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Coup defeater commander reshuffled to Army Corps - Turkey News". Hürriyet Daily News.
  3. ^ "TSK'nin gözbebeği Özel Kuvvetler". Hürriyet. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Bordo Bereliler Kimdir?". 15 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Siyah ve beyaz kuvvet açıklaması". www.aa.com.tr. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Özel Kuvvetler Komutanlığı Tanıtım Videosu". YouTube. Archived from the original on 18 December 2021.
  7. ^ "TSK'da yeni bir dönem başladı". www.aa.com.tr.
  8. ^ "Bordo bereliler sınırda". www.sozcu.com.tr.
  9. ^ "Genelkurmay 'yok' denilen özel kuvvetleri ayrıntılarıyla anlattı". Agos.
  10. ^ "Siyah ve beyaz kuvvet açıklaması". www.aa.com.tr.
  11. ^ "Tackling the PKK: New Directions for Turkey's Special Forces". Jamestown. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  12. ^ "Bordo Bereliler'in zaferi". www.hurriyet.com.tr.
  13. ^ "'Bordo Bereliler' Diyarbakır'da". 11 September 2012.
  14. ^ "Terörist başının Kenya'da paketlenip Türkiye'ye getirilmesinin üzerinden 21 yıl geçti". www.aa.com.tr.
  15. ^ "İşte nefes kesen operasyonun perde arkası". Sabah.
  16. ^ "Bordo Bereliler Sur'da". Milliyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  17. ^ "Sur'da Özel Kuvvetler Komutanlığı Timinin İçinde Bulunduğu Eski Bina Çöktü". Haberler.com (in Turkish). 19 February 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  18. ^ "Özel kuvvetler ŞAHlandı". takvim.com.tr (in Turkish). Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  19. ^ "Özel kuvvetler Suriye'de sıcak çatışmada ilk kez görüntülendi!". 27 September 2016.
  20. ^ "Afrin harekatı 58. gününde... Özel Kuvvetler ve ÖSO Afrin'de kontrolü sağladı". www.cumhuriyet.com.tr (in Turkish). Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  21. ^ "Metina'ya kara harekatı başlatıldı! Özel kuvvetler bölgeye indirildi... | GAZETE VATAN". www.gazetevatan.com. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  22. ^ "Türk özel kuvvetleri orada! AP dünyaya geçti". Milliyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  23. ^ "75 km genişlikteki arazide 9 odalı mağarada operasyon". www.trthaber.com (in Turkish). Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  24. ^ "Hassas bölgelere Özel Kuvvetler". 30 November 2014.
  25. ^ "Türkiye'nin de katıldığı 'Yenilmez Nöbetçi Tatbikatı' Katar'da başladı". www.trthaber.com.
  26. ^ Ankara, Dion Nissenbaum in Istanbul, Adam Entous in Washington and Emre Peker in (18 July 2016). "Turkish President Foiled Coup With Luck, Tech Savvy". Wall Street Journal – via www.wsj.com.
  27. ^ "Trial begins for murder of Turkish commando who stopped coup attempt". Archived from the original on 2 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  28. ^ "Onlar TSK'nın bel kemiği - Sayfa 8 Sabah - Fotohaber - Gündem - 05 Eylül 2015 Cumartesi". sabah.com.tr. Archived from the original on 6 October 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  29. ^ a b c "Turkey - Special Forces Command, General Staff Headquarters (Ozel Kuvvetler Komutanligi - O.K.K.)".
  30. ^ "HELICOPTER AVIONICS MODERNIZATION - Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc". tai.com.tr. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  31. ^ "Türkiye'nin yeni Karaşahini: T-70 Helikopteri". kokpit.aero. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  32. ^ "TSK: Öyle bir atış şekli yok, 'güven atışı' var - Hürriyet Gündem". hurriyet.com.tr. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  33. ^ "Bordo Bereliler: The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer". 6 October 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2021.

Further reading[edit]

Media related to Özel Kuvvetler Komutanlığı at Wikimedia Commons

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