ANKARA: Armed Forces Plan to Modenize, Reorganize, Reduce Numbers

The New Anatolian
April 23 2005

Turkish Armed Forces plans to modenize and reorganize by reducing
numbers

Evren Deger

Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok says four brigades to be
eliminated under Turkish Armed Forces’ modernization and
reorganization project

The brigades abolished are the 10th Infantry Brigade (Van-Ercis), the
Ninth Armored Brigade (Cankiri), the Seventh Mechanized Brigade
(Kars-Kagizman) and the 33rd Mechanized Brigade (Kirklareli). The
28th Division Corps in the town Sarikamis in Kars will also be
disbanded, reducing the number of brigades to 46, and corps to three

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is continuing efforts to reform its
vintage Cold War-era structure into a more flexible and efficient
military by abolishing four brigadesand a corps.

In his speech at the Turkish War College on Wednesday, Chief of
General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok indicated that the reorganization of
the TSK was being carried out under a project called Force-2014. The
brigades and division corps set to be abolished under Force-2014 are
the 10th Infantry Brigade (Van-Ercis), the Ninth Armored Brigade
(Cankiri), the Seventh Mechanized Brigade (Kars-Kagizman), and the
33th Mechanized Brigade (Kirklareli). The number of Turkish military
brigades will thus fall to 46. The 28th Division Corps in the town
Sarikamis in Kars will also be disbanded. Therefore, the number of
corps will fall to three, with two in Cyprus and a training corps in
Isparta.

Reasons for reorganization

Military officials stress that the modernization and reorganization
of the army will continue. “The goal of the Turkish military is to
reorganize our military units, which are dispersed around a wide area
according to the requirements of the Cold War, and to prepare them
for immediate mobilizations to crisis areas,” said one official.

The officials also indicated that further restructuring will follow
the abolition of the brigades and the division corps.

Defense officials underlined that eliminating the two brigades based
in Van and Kars reflect a change in Turkey’s perception of the threat
from Armenia.

Gen. Ozkok’s speech

General Ozkok’s speech touched on the status of the Force-2014
project, saying that the project had been prepared with recent
regional developments and the shift in Turkey’s perception of its
threats in mind. “Under the reorganization, the army shrunk these
four brigades last year. This year, we will abolish the brigades
outright and also reduce the size of our division corps’ forces,”
said Ozkok.

He stressed that force reduction in the military could only be
achieved as part of a carefully planned modernization program.
“Unplanned reordering could cause disasters, thus our goal is not
only to abolish the division corps and brigades, but also to increase
our remaining units’ preparation and combat capabilities,” he said.
“The abandoned barracks will be used by universities and other bodies
for educational purposes.”

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS