Turkish Army refutes Special Forces accusations

Turkish Army refutes Special Forces accusations

Turkish Army refutes Special Forces accusations

Turkey's Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel (L) DHA Photo

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is being negatively affected by a recent press campaign claiming that some elements of the Special Forces have been involved in illegal activities, the Turkish army has said in a written statement, adding that the continuation of such a campaign could hamper their efforts to maintain national security. The statement said these reports were a deliberate attempt to target the very existence of the Special Forces.

“It’s been assessed that publications that might have an influence on investigations and prosecutions concerning TSK personnel have started affecting the TSK institutionally,” the office of the Chief of General Staff said on Friday. The statement said that it preferred to stay silent on judicial matters but it felt the need to publicize its views as the situation necessitated such a statement.

The army’s communiqué came after insistent reports published in the media concerning alleged illegal activities perpetrated by some members of the Special Forces, who were reportedly active in plots against the government in 2007. The statement said the sources of these arguments were a number of anonymous letters handed by former chief of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) to the relevant state institutions. It added that the content of these letters was studied in 2007 but no evidence was found to launch a probe.

“The Special Forces is not an illegal organization and its activities are not illegal either. Depicting the Special Forces Command as a criminal organization based is unfairness towards our personnel, who are doing their jobs in very difficult conditions,” read the statement.

Responding to criticism of the very existence of these forces, the statement said the Special Forces would continue to provide security for Turkey as one of the most important military units. “This unit, which was brought to its current excellence with great effort over the years, has been brought under suspicion by these deliberate reports and commentaries. This situation could bring deficiencies to the Special Forces in realizing its duties and functions,” it read.

The Special Forces were first established in 1952 and are serving as a key unit in the fight against terror. The army statement said that, contrary to popular belief, all modern countries still had such forces, particularly the NATO allies.