Turkish Military Academy

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Turkish Military Academy
Kara Harp Okulu
KHO amblem.jpg
Motto "Yıldızların İrfan Yuvası"
Type Military Academy
Established 1834
Chancellor Brigadier General Murat Yetgin
Vice-Chancellor Colonel Taner Altınok
Students 4,000 future commissioned officers in the Turkish Army.
Location Ankara, Turkey
Colors Bordeaux and Black         
Website Kara Harp Okulu

The Turkish Military Academy (Turkish: Kara Harp Okulu) was a four-year co-educational military academy located in the center of Ankara, Turkey. Its mission is to develop cadets mentally and physically for service as commissioned officers in the Turkish Army.

Other Military Colleges[edit]

It is not to be confused with Ottoman Military College, Army War College (Kara Harp Akademisi),[1] Armed Forces College, (Silahlı Kuvvetler Akademisi)[2] or the National Security College (Milli Güvenlik Akademisi).[3]


In recognition of intense demands of science and technology on modern warfare, the Ottoman State abolished the Janissaries and founded Military Academy in Istanbul in 1834 as an institution devoted to the arts and science of warfare by the order of Sultan Mahmut II. The Academy produced its first graduates in 1841. After the foundation of military high schools in 1845, the Academy continued to give education with a four-year curriculum. The Academy had primarily trained artillery and cavalry officers until 1908.

The Military Academies that were founded in five army centers in Edirne, Manastir, Erzincan, Damascus and Bagdad were closed after a short while. Later, only the Military Academy in Istanbul continued education and training.

By applying an intensive training program to train soldiers for the fronts during the consecutive war periods, Turkish Military Academy (TMA) started training and education on 1 July 1920 in Abidin Pasha Mansion in Ankara during the Truce Period. TMA produced its first graduates on 1 November 1920. Atatürk hereby penned down his feelings in the book of honor: “Turkish Grand Assembly is pleased to see that the first officers of independence who are trained with the national oath of ‘Either independence or death!’ are introduced to our nation and entrusted with their missions.” Following the Lausanne Peace Treaty, TMA started education in Istanbul again.

Having been transferred to Ankara, the TMA started education in a new building on 25 September 1936. Academy's two-year education period was rearranged as to be a three-year education in 1948, two years in 1963, three years in 1971, and finally four years in 1974.

While TMA offered bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Administration/Management between the years 1974-1991, the Academy made a gradual transition to Systems Engineering program. Systems Engineering Program produced its first graduates in 1994. With the Army Regulation for the Military Academies that was passed on 11 May 2000 in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, TMA was recognized as a higher education institution and thus, this served as a basis for the TMA to be organized in a university structure as a contemporary higher education institution.

Cadet Mustafa Kemal[edit]

The research done about the biography of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk proves that much of the information about his school years was wrong. War Academy years were no exception to these inaccuracies. Errors due to the anecdotes which are not well researched, the errors in changing the Julian and the Islamic calendar to the Gregorian calendar have continued till this very day. Even the ones who tried to correct these errors have also caused new misunderstandings.

If his grades, his placement in terms of his total points and the information about his courses are put aside, his personal records are as follows:

Enrollment: March 1, 1315 (13 March 1899, Monday). Epaulet number: 1283. Graduation certificate number: 59998. The date the exam results were given and the names of the cadets who became officers were known and their going to religious festival holiday of 39 days in the third grade: 22 Teşrinisanı 1317 (5 December 1901, Thursday). End of festival: 31 Kanunievvel 1317 (13 January 1902, Monday). Graduation ceremony and presenting the certificates: 12 Kanunusani 1317 (10 February 1902, Monday).

Another important issue is his “military record”. In his “personal file”, which is kept in the archives of The Land Forces, his registration number is “1317-P.8, (1317-Infantry-8). The number 1317 in the Julian calendar is sometimes given as 1901 or 1902. The right one is 1901. The academic year used to start on the 13th of March and end at the end of the December. The 1317 year in Julian calendar includes 12 months, between March, 1st and February 28th. The period between 14th of March and 31st of December in the Julian calendar, totaling nine months and eighteen days, is in 1901 in Gregorian calendar. The other months of April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December, including the 18 days in March, belongs to the year of 1317. Only two months and 13 days of the year 1317, between the dates of January the 1st and March the 13th, are in 1902 in the Gregorian calendar. The January and February months and the first 13 days of March in 1902 are in 1317 in Gregorian calendar. According to this, Mustafa Kemal and the other cadets of the “1315 enrollment” belongs to the “1901 term.” Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s registration number is “1901-Infantry-8.”

Mustafa Kemal’s registration number is presented as “Infantry-1474” in some publications. This information is based on Muharrem Mazlum’s book. This number must have been his epaulet number in the academy. The information in his military record clearly points out that his registration number is “1317-Infantry-8” (1901-Infantry-8).

Martyrs' Monument[edit]

The Turkish Military Academy (TMA) Martyrs' Monument was built to immortalize the sacred memory of the martyrs who graduated from the TMA and to let following generations be aware of the sacrifices these distinguished men have made. The TMA has trained many statesmen, commanders, leaders, and before all else, our Great Leader Atatürk since its establishment in 1834.

The Turkish Military Academy Martyrs' Monument consists of three main sections: the Pillars of Victory and Officers' Statues, the Path of Immortality and Eternity, and the Ceremony and Victory Square. These sections cover an area of 80.000 m2.

1. Section

The first section of the monument displays 5 officers charging forward between the Pillars of Victory who are holding the TMA flag. The TAAA flag symbolizes the honor of the Turkish Armed Forces and the willingness to sacrifice themselves and win more victories in the name of the motherland.

2. Section

The second section, the Path of Immortality and Eternity, consists of thousands of spruce and cedar trees with each tree representing a martyr: their names were printed on a plaque at the base of each tree. This section symbolizes the ascent of the spirits of our martyrs to the sky and our nation's gratitude to them for their sacrifices. The lion statues on both sides of the path symbolize the might and heroism of the Turkish Army.

3. Section

The third section is the Ceremony and Victory Square. On the walls to the right and left of the steps, key battles fought since the establishment of the academy are represented. The battles shown in relief include the Gelibolu Campaign, the War of Independency, the Korean War, the Cyprus Peace Operation and the Internal Security Operation.

Initially, it was the aim to write all TMA Graduate Martyrs' names on the monument; however, due to difficulties in ascertaining these names, the fallen officers during the wars, battles and campaigns shown below have been represented by a marble plaque for each.

  • Crimean War (1853-1856)
  • Ottoman-Russian War (1877-1878)
  • Turkish-Greek War (1897)
  • Battle of Tripoli (1911)
  • Balkan Campaign (1912-1913)
  • World War I (1914-1918)

These marble plaques have been placed on the Martyrs' Hill at the base of each Pillar of Victory.

In order to immortalize the fallen officers who lost their lives during the War of Independence, the Korean War, Cyprus Peace Operation, the Internal Security Operation and on other various missions, a cedar tree has been planted. Each tree represents one fallen officer; their identification tags carved on marble plaques have been placed under these trees.

The cedar trees and plaques for the Martyrs of the War of Independence have been planted and placed on Martyrs' Hill and the plaques of the remaining Martyrs' have been placed on sections surrounding the hill.

Thanks to this monument, the Spirits of our Martyrs have become a united whole with the Turkish Nation, members of the Turkish Armed Forces and the TMA cadets in the literal sense. This unification is the ultimate assurance of our great nation and the Republic of Turkey.

The construction of the monument has started September 1995 and it was opened on October 8th, 1997.[4]


Mustafa Kemal Atatürk graduated from Manastır Military High School being top of his class with another cadet, Ahmet Tevfik from Selanik, who had the same grades as him, in mid-December in 1898, and thus completed secondary education. Until mid-March in 1899, he had been on-leave. He boarded a ship in Selanik to travel to İstanbul, the capital city at that time, to continue his education in Military Academy. He left Macedonia where he had spent all his childhood and early teenage years for the first time.

His enrollment in Military Academy, where he would build up a new life and, his thoughts and his personality would mature, was on 1 March 1315 / 13 March 1899. His epaulet number was 1283. Cadet Mustafa Kemal was recorded as “tall, white skinned Mustafa Kemal 96”, son of Ali Rıza Efendi, who was one of the customs officers coming from Kasım Paşa District in Selanik, and was written down into the enrollment book which was intended for “1315 enrollments.” In the book, he was between 1282 Ahmet Tevfik Efendi from Selanik (96) and 1284 Recep Fahri from Manastır (95).

In that year, Mustafa Kemal was in the first section of the first grade comprising six sections which might have had over 900 or 736 cadets according to different sources.

The commander of the Military Academy was General Mustafa Zeki. He was the commander who served most, for 22 years, between 1884 and 1906. He was a wise commander. He would read and write a lot. In order to educate patriotic officers, he worked hard and cared about the cadets. He graduated many famous commanders like Mustafa Kemal, İsmet İnönü, Kazım Karabekir and Fevzi Çakmak.

In addition to General Mustafa Zeki, that General Goltz’s being “the inspector for military schools” and General Esat’s (Bültani) being the school principal provided the necessary foundation to make the curriculum modern. They redesigned the curriculum after having examined the curriculums in German, French and Belgium schools. Then, The Military Academy had been transformed in education and training. Probably, Mustafa Kemal and his fellow soldiers’ biggest chance was their enrollment in this new period.

Entry process[edit]

There are roughly 4,000 cadets attending the Turkish Military Academy at any one time. In order to enter the academy, prospective cadets first apply to military high school after primary schooling. Only students displaying the potential to become officers are accepted. There are three military high schools in Turkey. Maltepe Military High School in İzmir, Kuleli Military High School in Istanbul and Işıklar Military High School in Bursa. Each military high school has a four-year program, and after completion, cadets from all three schools enter the Academy. A small number of cadets also enter the school from civilian high schools. Military high schools are all male schools, so all female cadets at the Academy come from civilian high schools. The Academy is the only source of commissioned officers for the Turkish Army. After graduation, cadets are required to serve for 15 years.


The academy is made up of one regiment and four battalions, or (Turkish Tabur for singular, Taburlar for plural, and Taburu in singular-possessive constructions (like in Battalion of Izmir, which would be Izmir Taburu)), named after famous campaigns during the Turkish War of Independence (except Malazgirt). 1st Battalion is the Anafartalar Battalion, 2nd is the Dumlupinar Battalion, 3rd is the Sakarya Battalion and 4th is the Malazgirt Battalion. Each battalion has a separate building, which contains a number of facilities including barracks, dining halls, classrooms, day rooms and study rooms. The cadet regiment has a cadet chain of command which rotates during the school year. The cadet regiment also has a chain of command of regular army officers in mentoring and leadership roles. The academy's regimental commander is a very prestigious position and usually precludes a higher position within the Turkish Army.

The cadets are distinguishable and organized by their graduating class as well as their cadet unit. In their classroom uniform, each cadet wears a thin gold bar on their epilate for each year they have been at the academy. Senior cadets, with four bars, also wear the color of the branch of the Turkish Army that they will be entering upon graduation on their collar. For example, green for infantry and gray for armor. The under three classes wear blue on their collar which signifies that they have not yet chosen a branch. The cadet also wears an identification number, a four digit number issued upon entrance to the academy. Atatürk's cadet number, 1283,[5] has been reserved and will not be issued to another cadet. The cadet dress uniform is the same as the Turkish Army officer's uniform, except for the addition of two gold cords looped from the right shoulder across the front right suspending two metal pins. One pin is long, and symbolizes peace while the other is short and symbolizes war.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Army War College in the official website of the Turkish General Staffs War Colleges Command.
  2. ^ Armed Forces College in the official website of the Turkish General Staffs War Colleges Command.
  3. ^ National Security College in the official website of the Turkish General Staffs War Colleges Command.
  4. ^ Okulu, Kara Harp. "Kara Harp Okulu". www.kho.edu.tr. Retrieved 2016-04-01. 
  5. ^ CADET 1283 MUSTAFA KEMAL in the official website of the Turkish Military Academy.

External links[edit]