Turkey, Intelligence and Security

Turkey, Intelligence and Security

Turkey's intelligence service, MIT (Milli Istihbarat Teskilati; Special Organization) has roots that go back to the final years of the Ottoman Empire. Today, it is concerned largely with signals intelligence, and with monitoring threats from neighboring countries. Like most major industrialized nations, Turkey has a counterterrorism unit, the OIKB or National Police Jandarma Commandoes.

In 1914, Ottoman leader Enver Pasha established an intelligence service that became the Police Guild (Karakol Cemiyeti) after Turkey's defeat in World War I. In 1926, after Turkey emerged as a republic under the leadership of Ataturk (a.k.a. Mustafa Kemal), the Police Guild became MAH, the National Security Service. Directed by a former intelligence officer of imperial Germany, MAH conducted intelligence operations overseas, as well as counter-espionage work at home against Armenian and Kurdish separatists. In 1965, MAH became MIT, which has special sections devoted to internal security, counterterrorism, organized crime, Russia, Greece, Iraq, Kurdish separatists, and Cyprus.

Soldiers in OIKB are trained in aspects of riot control, hostage rescue, anti-hijacking operations, and other counterterrorism skills. Its members have conducted armed operations against Kurdish and Armenian rebels, as well as the Turkish People's Liberation Army. Controlled in peacetime by the Ministry of Interior, OIKB in wartime falls under the direction of military intelligence.



Bennett, Richard M. Espionage: An Encyclopedia of Spies and Secrets. London: Virgin Books, 2002.


Dempsey, Judy. "EU Military Mission at Risk from Turkish Rift." Financial Times. (September 19, 2002): 12.


Turkey: Intelligence. Federation of American Scientists. < http://www.fas.org/irp/world/turkey/index.html > (March 1, 2003).


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