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Army - Organization

The army is by far the largest of the three service components. During 1992 the army introduced a sweeping reorganization, shifting from a predominantly divisional and regimental structure to one based on corps and brigades. The personnel strength of the army was reduced in 1994 to about 393,000 (including about 345,000 conscripts). Major equipment acquisitions have enabled the army to upgrade firepower and mobility while enhancing command and control.

It is not fully clear whether the Turkish Cyprus Peace Force in Northern Cyprus was actually designated XI Corps. It appears that XV Corps, formerly in the First Army, has disbanded. The Commando brigades include the 1st Commando Brigade, Kayseri, 2nd Commando Brigade, Bolu, 3rd Commando Brigade, Siirt, 4th Commando Brigade, Tunceli and, Mountain and Commando Brigade, Hakkari.

The Turkish Ground Force Command in 2002 was composed of 4 armies, 10 army corps, 2 mechanized infantry divisions, 1 infantry division, 1 training division, 14 mechanized infantry brigades, 14 armored brigades, 12 infantry/internal security brigades, 5 commando brigades, 5 training brigades. In 2009 the TSK had 4 Field Armies with 10 headquarters, 2 infantry divisions, 11 infantry brigades, 15 mechanized infantry brigades, 17 armoured brigades, and 5 commando brigades. These units are organized as four Field Armies and Logistics Command and Training and Doctrine Command, which are subordinate to the Turkish Land Forces.

As adopted in 2007 the program "Armed Forces - 2014" to the end of 2014 the number of ground troops was planned to cut up to 280-300 thousand people at the same time with the building of modern weapons and military equipment, as well as management tools. The plan envisaged the elimination of the two field armies: the 3rd Field Army (grouping on the borders of Armenia and Georgia) and 4th Aegean (on the west coast of Turkey). At the same time it was planned to create a unified command of the three armed services (Army, Navy and Air Force) and converted to the corresponding General Staff "combined" headquarters, which will be subject to command kinds of aircraft. On the basis of the existing headquarters of the 1st field and 2nd field army command must be created in Western and Eastern group of troops, and the entire territory of Turkey's existing operational and military administratively divided into two parts.

As part of the plan the number of Turkish army troops was reduced by 10-20 thousand soldiers a year, many military units and formations were disbanded. For example, in just three years 5 tank brigades of 14 were disbanded, while the remaining nine armored brigades were equipped with upgraded and modern military equipment. Also some of the infantry brigades were disbanded, and some of them were transformed into mechanized units. The task of conducting combat against Kurdish separatist military forces was fully shifted to the Turkish gendarmerie, for which the latter gained enhanced armor from the ground forces. Rather, in addition to those already available, the gendarmerie gained BTR-60P (about 340 pieces) and BTR-80 (240 pieces).

Prior to the army reorganization, the principal tactical units consisted of sixteen infantry divisions and one armored division, plus twenty-three independent brigades, of which six were armored and four mechanized. Under the reorganization, all divisions except three were dismantled. The existing nine corps were retained, with brigades directly responsible to the corps commands. The brigades were reconfigured as seventeen mechanized infantry brigades, fourteen armored brigades, nine infantry brigades, and four commando brigades.

Each armored brigade consisted in late 1994 of six battalions: two armored, two mechanized, and two artillery. The mechanized brigades consisted of one armored battalion, two mechanized battalions, and one artillery battalion, plus a reconnaissance squadron. The infantry brigades consisted of four infantry battalions and one artillery battalion. Each commando brigade consisted of three commando battalions and one artillery battalion. Other units [as of 1994] included a Presidential Guard regiment, an infantry regiment, five border defense regiments, and twenty-six border defense battalions.

The commander of Turkish land forces in early 1995, operated from headquarters in Ankara. The capital is also the home of the Ankara garrison and of the training and logistics commands. The country is divided into four military sectors on the basis of strategic conditions of terrain, logistics, communications, and the potential external threat. The sectors are assigned to four field armies, the first three of which would come under NATO command in the event of a NATO reinforced alert.

The First Army, with headquarters in Istanbul, is widely deployed in the European part of Turkey known historically as Thrace, with responsibility for the defense of that province, the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, and the Kocaeli Peninsula. The Second Army, headquartered at Malatya, is deployed in southeastern Anatolia with a defensive mission facing Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The Third Army, with headquarters at Erzincan, is deployed throughout the rugged mountains and deep valleys of eastern Anatolia, covering the borders with Georgia and Armenia and the historical invasion routes from the east. During the buildup preceding the Persian Gulf War, the Second Army was deployed along the Iraqi border along with some units from the Third Army. Under the new structure, most of the armored, mechanized, and commando brigades are located in the central region with the mission of rapidly reinforcing brigades in each theater as required.

The Aegean Army (sometimes called the Fourth Army) was organized in the mid-1970s in response to tensions with Greece in the Aegean Sea. Headquartered in Izmir, it is responsible for the vast area facing the Aegean coast from the Dardanelles in the north to the southernmost Greek offshore islands. Turkish commanders describe the Aegean Army as composed simply of training elements from which the major army units are supplied. They presumably would have the mission of defending the Aegean coast and keeping lines of communication open in the Aegean district in an emergency, although their capability for this mission seems highly limited. The Turkish corps on Cyprus is within the Aegean Army command structure. Known as the Cyprus Turkish Peace Force, it is said in The Military Balance, 1994-1995 to consist of 30,000 troops, equipped with 235 M-48 tanks, 107 armored personnel carriers (APCs), and numerous pieces of towed and self-propelled artillery.

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Page last modified: 20-11-2016 17:05:28 ZULU