The Turkish Cypriot Security Force (Turkish language: Güvenlik Kuvvetleri Komutanlığı) is the military and security force of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, whose independence is recognized only by Turkey and which the United Nations considers to be a Turkish-Occupied territory. It is a 9,000 strong force primarily made up of conscripted Turkish Cypriot males between the ages of 20 and 40. It is a combined arms force, with land, air and naval elements.
Even before independence, the Turkish Cypriot community maintained its own paramilitary force (the Türk Mukavemet Teşkilatı or TMT), trained and equipped by the Turkish Army. In 1967 this force was renamed the Mücahit (fighter), and in 1975 the Mücahit was renamed the Turkish Cypriot Security Force. In 1974, Turkey led a land invasion of Northern Cyprus with the aim of protecting the Turkish minority population after a Greek-inspired coup brought a threat of union of the island with Greece. Since then there have been no major fight for Cyprus and the nation continues to be an independent country, though strongly linked with Turkey militarly and politically.
The Turkish Cypriot Security Force was commanded by a General officer of the Turkish Army, who had both operational and administrative responsibilities, as well as control over the police force. The commander was responsible to the prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus ("TRNC") through the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense. A unified military-civilian defense staff of the ministry was responsible for defense policy and strategy.
Although legally separate from the Turkish Army on the island, the Turkish Cypriot Security Force was believed to remain under the de facto operational control of the Turkish forces. It also depended on Turkey for training and equipment. Most of its officers were regular Turkish Army officers on secondment. Observers believed that many of its expenses were absorbed by the Turkish Army.
Turkish Cypriot males were liable to conscription at age eighteen for a twenty-four-month period of service. However, this is easily overcome by wealthy individuals following a moderate monetary fee. Discharged soldiers served in the reserves until the age of fifty. The number of first-line and second-line reserves was estimated at 10,000 and 16,000, respectively, as of 2009.
As of 2009, the strength of this force was believed to be about 9,000. It was organized into fifteen battalions in two brigades, infantry battalions armed with light weapons plus some artillery units equipped with mortars.
Armoured Personnel CarriersEdit
- Otokar Akrep 50
- M-113 266
This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/.
- Christopher Hitchens - Cyprus, Hostage to History: From the Ottomans to Kissinger
- Turkish Cypriot Security Forces (Turkish)
- Military of Northern Cyprus on Reddet
- Library of Congress - Country Study
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