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Naval Special Forces

The Naval Special Forces of the Turkish Armed Forces are classified under two categories. Although these two categories, publicly known as SAS and SAT, are thought to be the same by many people, in fact they are not. They are two different units with completely different specialization areas and range of duties. The personnel of both units are selected only from the Navy officers and non-commissioned officers on voluntary basis.

Underwater Defense Teams

Underwater Defense Teams (Su Alti Savunma - S.A.S.) are the counterparts of the US Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT). SAS stands for Su Alti Savunma in Turkish, which can be translated as Underwater Defense. It has no connection nor any resembelence to the British SAS. Their main tasks are: Deactivation or disposal of explosive material, mines and/or unidentified ordinance under the water off the friendly ports and coasts; Deactivation or disposal of explosive material, mines and/or unidentified ordinance under the water off the target coasts or ports. That includes clearing of the target beaches of mines, explosives, booby traps and tank traps, prior to the amphibious assault of the friendly forces; Deactivation or disposal of explosives and mines that might be present on the course of the friendly troops and/or VIP military personnel; - Consultancy in defending the strategic facilities against stealth assaults by enemy commandos.

SAS units do not perform assault, counter-terrorism, recon or CQC missions. A real-time duty executed by the SAS has been the clearing of the Girne Beach, Cyprus, prior to the amphibious assault of the Turkish Armed Forces to the island in 1974.

Underwater Assault Teams (Su Alti Taaruz - S.A.T.) are the counterparts of the US Navy Seals. Their main tasks are:

  • Surveillance on enemy structures, facilities, defense systems or strategically relevant buildings.
  • Covert sabotage against naval units and/or enemy structures.
  • Covert landing and infiltration.
  • Reconnaissance on beaches being considered for amphibious landing operations.
  • Determining secure landing paths.
  • Underwater recon within 2.5 m deep water/beach corridors.
  • Direct action during first wave of landing missions.
  • Hostage/POW/downed pilot rescue.
  • Counter-terrorism missions.
  • Close Quarter Combat.
The training period of the Turkish Naval Special Forces, which lasts 49 weeks, is shorter than that of the OKK. It starts off with a 5-week-long Indoctrination period, followed by three consecutive training phases, and then Airborne Training and Special Ops Training.

Training and Duration: BUD/S:

  • Indoctrination Period - 5 weeks Phase I (Basic conditioning + Hell Week) - 9 weeks
  • Phase II (Diving) - 8 weeks
  • Phase III (Land Warfare) - 9 weeks
Post BUD/S:
  • Airborne Training - 3 weeks
  • Special Ops Technical Training - 2 weeks
  • Medical Training - 30 weeks
  • Platoon Training - 18 months

OKK/MAK, SAS or SAT, every Special Operations mission needs absolute secrecy and stealth. In consequence to these requirements, some peculiarities are expected in all special operations candidates: Total dedication to the motherland and extreme determination; No fear of darkness, altitude, underwater activity or loneliness at all; resistance and effective reaction capability in extreme situations (including torture); capacity and determination to accomplish the tasked mission at any cost; ability to make immediate and effective decisions; capacity to adapt to changing situations or environments.

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