THE SHORT HISTORY OF THE GENDARMERIE GENERAL COMMAND

 

Turks, who showed the ability and strength to establish organized and long-lasting states, in comparison to the nations worldwide, have been a nation remarkable for its laws and traditions in order to ensure security and public order in their countries as well as the notion of organized state ever since the day they first existed in the history. The rulers known as Başbuğ, Kağan or Hakan also personally performed security and public order duties in the former Turkish civilizations. It is known that in Orkhon Inscriptions, there was a law enforcement force mentioned as Yargan which ensured security and public order under the command of Hakan.

Military law enforcement organizations which carried out security and public order services were called as “Surta” in Seljuks, as “Subaşı” under the reign of Ottoman Empire, were later called as “Zaptiye” and subsequently in recent history as “Gendarmerie”.

 

 

In the Ottoman Empire, as the military and administrative authorities, Subaşılar under the command of Kadı in towns; Mirliva or Sancak Beyleri in sanjaks and Mir-i Miran or Beylerbeyi in provinces fulfilled the security and public order duties together with soldiers under their command.

In Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, security and public order duties were performed by a different organization. To this end, public order stations were opened inside and outside Istanbul and Janissaries, called as Karakullukçu, carried out the duties in these stations. Janissary Commander, Cebecibaşı, Cebeciler, Kaptan Paşa, Topçubaşı and Topçular, Bostancıbaşı and Bostancılar went down in history as the people who were charged with and responsible for preserving security and public order.

After the abolition of Janissary corps on 18 June 1826, security and public order services were performed by the military organizations which were called as “Asakir-i Muntazama-i Mansuri”, “Asakir-i Muntazama-i Hassa” and “Asakir-i Redife” (founded in 1834) and were established in some provinces of Anatolia and Rumelia.

After the proclamation of Administrative Reforms on 3 November 1839, the duty of protecting the right to life and property of the people was assigned to officers who worked under the authority of provincial or sanjak governorates.

On 16 February 1846, “Zaptiye Müşirliği” was established and Umur-u Zaptiye services in provinces and sanjaks were directly subordinated to this authority. This period was also named as “Tevhid-i Zabıta” (integration of law enforcement services) period. Zaptiye Müşirliği was subordinated to “Seraskerlik” which was a higher-level military authority. Thus, a new military law enforcement branch emerged for the main purpose of ensuring internal security and public order and it was conducted by one center.

 “Asakir-i Zaptiye Nizamnamesi”, which was the first regulation of the organization, entered into force on 14 June 1869. With this regulation, law enforcement duties and services, powers and responsibilities were included in the laws. In accordance with the regulation, a Zaptiye Regiment was established in each province and its personnel were composed of infantry and cavalry. Furthermore, the organizational structures of regiment, battalion, company and platoon were established.

Although it came into light that the Gendarmerie organization was founded in 1839, depending on the existing information about the term “Gendarmerie” and various “Gendarmerie Assignment Decrees” in the archives starting from the year of 1839, the determination of the organization’s foundation date with precise day and month has not been possible yet. Therefore, taking the June 14 of “14 June 1869” on which Asakir-i Zaptiye Nizamnamesi was approved, the date of “14 June 1839” was accepted as the exact foundation date of Gendarmerie.

After the Ottoman – Russian war (1877 – 1878), Grand Vizier (Prime Minister) Sait Paşa had some officers brought from England and France, some changes were made in the organizational structure and “Umum Jandarma Merkeziyesi”, subordinated to Seraskerlik, was established on 20 November 1879 in order to establish a modern law enforcement organization.

After the 2nd Constitution was declared in 1908, Gendarmerie achieved great successes, particularly in Rumelia. For this reason, the organization was restructured in 1909 and affiliated to the Ministry of War and its name was changed as the General Gendarmerie Commandership.

Gendarmerie Units both performed interior security duties and took part in national defense at various fronts as an inseparable part of the Armed Forces during the First World War, which started in 1914 and ended in 1918 and during our Independence War, which lasted from 1919 to 1922. The heroism and successes of the Gendarmerie units in those wars deserved every tribute and praise.

After the declaration of Republic on 29 October 1923, like in many state institutions, reorganization works also commenced in the Gendarmerie organization within the framework of a plan.

Gendarmerie NCO School, which was closed down in 1918, was re-opened in İzmit. Fixed Gendarmerie Regional Inspectorates and Provincial Gendarmerie Regiment Command were reorganized and Mobile Gendarmerie Units were strengthened.

 

 

Law No: 1706 entered into force on 10 June 1930 and the Gendarmerie Organization achieved its current legal status.

In 1935, it was decided that the Gendarmerie officers would be trained in the Military Academy.

In 1937, “Regulation on the Organization and Duties of Gendarmerie” entered into force.

In 1939, the Gendarmerie organization was restructured in the form of three groups as Fixed Gendarmerie Units, Mobile Gendarmerie Units and Gendarmerie Training Units and Schools.

Law No: 6815, which entered into force in 1956, assigned the Gendarmerie General Command the duty and responsibility to protect borders, coasts and territorial waters and to prohibit, monitor and investigate smuggling in custom areas which were previously carried out by the General Customs Commandership that was a military organization at the level of division in affiliation to the Ministry of Customs and Monopoly.

In 1957, Gendarmerie Border Units were transformed into brigades and Gendarmerie Training Brigades were established.

In 1961, Gendarmerie Regional Commands were established.

In 1963, Foça Gendarmerie Commando School opened and commando training started. In relation to this, Gendarmerie Commando Units were set up.

In 1961, the first Gendarmerie Regional Command was founded in Ankara.

In 1968, the first Gendarmerie Aviation Unit was established in Diyarbakır, under the name of Light Helicopter Company Command.

In 1974, Gendarmerie Commando Units and Gendarmerie Aviation Units participated in the Cyprus Peace Operation and played a leading role in the fight of Cypriot Turks towards their independence.

Law No: 2692 entering into force in 1982, assigned the duty of protecting our coasts and territorial waters to the Coast Guard Command.

Law No: 2803 on the Organization, Duties and Responsibilities of the Gendarmerie entered into force in 1983.

In 1988, the duties of protecting the land borders and ensuring the security of them were transferred to the Land Forces Command by the Law No: 3497. With the exception of a certain part of Iraq border, other border protection services were transferred to the authority of the Land Forces Command as from 2011.

With relation to the incidents taking place in its responsibility area, in the framework of a study which started on March 23, 1989, Gendarmerie Criminal Department was founded in Ankara in 1993 and Gendarmerie Regional Criminal Laboratories were founded respectively in Van in 1994, in Bursa in 1998 and in Aydın in 2005 in order to scientifically investigate crimes and criminal evidences and take them to the court. Within the context of the studies carried out in parallel with the foundation activities of the laboratories, the followings were established:

Crime Scene Investigation Teams within the structure of (81) Provincial Gendarmerie Commands and (196) District Gendarmerie Commands,

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Units within the structure of (34) Provincial Gendarmerie Commands,  

Fingerprint and Palm Print Chief Administrations within the structure of (14) Regional Gendarmerie Commands.

Gendarmerie units have been the most important element in the struggle against terrorism, including all terrorist organizations, mainly PKK/KONGRA-GEL harboring evil intentions towards the indivisible integrity of Turkey in the homeland, particularly in Eastern and Southeastern Anatolian Regions and also in the Black Sea Region in the period starting from 1984 until today. Having sacrificed thousands of martyrs and veterans for the sake of this purpose, the Gendarmerie will go on protecting the unity and solidarity of our country at all costs.