Special Warfare Department

The Special Warfare Department (SWD, Turkish: Özel Harp Dairesi (ÖHD)) was the special forces unit of the Turkish Army. Founded in 1965, it was formed out of the Army's Tactical Mobilisation Group (Turkish: Seferberlik Taktik Kurulu, STK).[1] It was disbanded in 1992, with special operations taken over by the new Special Forces Command.[2]

Special Warfare Department
Country Turkey
BranchTurkish Army
TypeSpecial forces
RoleSpecial operations

Former members include Korkut Eken.


The SWD were also fund and trained by the USA.[3] During the Cold War the SWD closely cooperated with the CIA.[4]

The SWD encouraged and protected the Turkish Grey Wolves when they unleashed waves of bomb attacks and shootings that killed thousands of people, including students, lawyers, journalists, public officials, labor organizers, ethnic Kurds and others, in the 1970s.[3]

The SWD established the TMT at Cyprus in 1958 to counter the EOKA and to force partition of the island and supported it logistically and militarily. Arms were transferred from Turkey to support TMT, but as the arms transfer was blocked at international water the SWD contacted arms smugglers for this task.[5] Also, the SWD was involved in the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, under the command of Sabri Yirmibeşoğlu. In 2010 Yirmibeşoğlu reported to the television news channel Habertürk TV that Turkey burned a mosque during the Cypriot intercommunal violence in order to foster civil resistance against Greeks on the disputed island, and that their rules of war included "false flag" acts, engaging in acts of sabotage made to look as if they were carried out by the enemy.[6]

See also


  1. Turkey's Killing Machine: The Contra-Guerrilla Force, Serdar Celik, in Kurdistan Report. No.17. February/March 1994
  2. Uslu, Emrullah (July 10, 2008). "Tackling the PKK: New Directions for Turkey's Special Forces". Terrorism Monitor. Jamestown Foundation. VI (14): 9–11.
  3. Heinz Duthel (February 2015). Global Secret and Intelligence Services I. Routledge. ISBN 978-3738607789.
  4. Mehtap Söyler (February 2015). The Turkish Deep State: State Consolidation, Civil-Military Relations and Democracy. Routledge. ISBN 978-1138782334.
  5. Mehtap Söyler (February 2015). The Turkish Deep State: State Consolidation, Civil-Military Relations and Democracy. Routledge. p. 102. ISBN 978-1138782334.
  6. Bloomberg, 24 September 2010, Turkey burned mosque during Cyprus conflict, general says

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