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Special Forces Command,
General Staff Headquarters
(Ozel Kuvvetler Komutanligi - O.K.K.)

The Turkish Special Forces Command are known as the Maroon Berets. The Special Forces Command or the name among the peoples Maroon Berets and formerly Special Warfare Department, include Turkish Armed Forces's various classes and rank of officers , noncommissioned officers and experts sergeants, countering internal and external threats in all types of terrain and climate conditions in a position to do tasks specially bred subjected to high-level training soldiers is the name given.

In 1992, the Brigade was established and then division, and then in 2006 the Supreme Military Council with the decision of the Corps 2010, the Supreme Military Council decided to re-division and in 2015 the Supreme Military Council decided to re-Brigade was made. The force is directly, regardless of any force commander, under the General Staff of the Republic of Turkey 's depending on their duties. Such unity of Maroon Berets with Combat Search and Rescue (MAK), serves directly at the disposal of the Special Forces. Here specially selected soldiers who served at the World Special Forces Championship held in Germany in 2004, was the first among the twenty-six special forces troops.

Maroon Berets also bring immediate protection rather than in the great task of the state. At first they assumed chief of staff, including force commanders and high-ranking generals protection and security tasks. Abdullah Ocalan's arrest and Turkey in the introduction of duty Special Forces Command's, their primary duty is to organize and educate the public in case of a possible war.

The special forces within the Turkish Armed Forces are one of the finest among their counterparts throughout the world. Despite the fact that there are many other special operations commando units, such as the Mountain Commando Brigades, Gendarmerie Commandos and Marine Corps, within the Turkish Armed Forces, they do not fall under the definition / classification of modern day special forces.

Although 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 behind-the-desk duties as well. The combatant size of the OKK is not greater than 500. The OKK may be considered as the Turkish counterpart of the US Green Berets.

Within the OKK, there is a more specialized unit with only 100 members. Although the name of the unit is Combat Search and Rescue (Muharebe Arama Kurtarma - M.A.K.), its duties focus more on unconventional warfare and military intelligence. No further information is available on MAK except for the fact that it is thought to be established and organized like its US counterpart Delta Force. It also differs from the OKK in that its members are selected not only from the Army, but also from the other two main forces, Navy and Air Force. It should not be difficult to conclude that the MAK members are the best of the best within the Turkish Armed Forces.

OKK and MAK perform a variety of duties such as:

  • Surveillance on enemy structures, facilities, defense systems or strategically relevant buildings.
  • Covert sabotage against enemy units and structures.
  • Infiltration.
  • Reconnaissance.
  • Hostage/POW/downed pilot rescue.
  • Counter-terrorism missions.
  • Close Quarter Combat.
  • Organization and training of friendly civilians against the enemy.

OKK and MAK both took part in the accomplishment of several missions. Capture of Abdullah Ocalan, the Chief of the terrorist PKK organization, in Kenya and of Semdin Sakik, PKK's second chief in charge were carried out by the OKK. The OKK gained vast amount of experience in search and destroy type missions, especially in rural areas and caves in South-East Turkey during its years long campaign against the PKK. The OKK has also been undertaking missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, Afghanistan and North Iraq. A few OKK teams were sent to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom and trained the new recruits of the newly-established regular Afghan Army.

The manpower required for the OKK is acquired from the selected officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) of various units operating under the Land Forces Command. In other words, the Army officers and NCOs only are eligible to join this elite unit. This unit directly operates under the command of the General Staff Headquarters. The individuals forming this special unit are selected from their regular army troops on voluntary basis.

Not all who volunteers are admitted though, since there is a pass/fail written exam as well as physical tests to go through. 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 2.5 years. Many drop out during this intense training period. Training encompasses fitness, obstacle, Martial Arts, close quarters combat (CQC), biological/chemical/nuclear warfare, parachuting, diving, sniping, demolition, counter-terrorism, search and rescue, stealth seek 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. Training schedule includes all aspects of a modern day regular and psychological warfare. 100 kilometer terrain-walking with a 40 kg. load is just an example of what the candidates have to go through during training.

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