Law enforcement in Turkey

Law enforcement in Turkey is carried out by several departments and agencies, all acting under the command of the Prime Minister of Turkey or mostly the Minister of the Interior.

Turkish Police (Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü)

Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü, is the official name of the high command of the Turkish Police. Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü (translates to General Directorate of Security), assumes roles in law enforcement and security matters mostly in cities and metros. Their area of jurisdiction is limited to city centres and some exceptional locations. For example, in airports, the police and Gümrük Muhafaza (Customs) work together to ensure the safety of the airport and the customs. Traffic Police ensure the safety of transportation and also work with registration of vehicles. The Turkish Police also play a big part in important intelligence and counter-terrorist operations.

The General Directorate is based in Ankara, the capital. Every district also hosts a İl Emiyet Müdürlüğü (District Directorate). The organization is central-based and has a hierarchy similar to that of the Turkish Armed Forces.

In Turkey, Police officers wear navy-blue uniforms and caps. Patrol cars can be identified using the unique blue-white design and the writing “Polis” on the side doors and hood. Lieutenants and captains wear silver stars on their shoulders, highest ranking officers wear golden stars.

Some of the famous police units in Turkey are: Yunuslar (Motorcycle Units, yunuslar translates to Dolphins), the Çevik Kuvvet (the Agile Force) who handle difficult cases like demonstrations with the help of K-9 dogs and the famed “Panzer”s, and lastly the Özel-Tim which is the special response unit of the Department (quite like the American SWAT or the German GSG 9), using special weapons and rapid deployment tactics for the control of exceptionally harsh circumstances (bank robberies, kidnappings, hostage rescues etc.)

Jandarma (Gendarmerie)

The Jandarma, are military forces of law enforcement. They are trained and supplied by the army but they assume duties under the Minister of Interior. Their organization and duties are quite similar to those of the French Gendarmerie, or Italian Carabinieri.

The Command, is based in Ankara, under the name Jandarma Genel Komutanlığı (Gendarmerie Command).Their area of jurisdiction is outside city centres, mostly in the country where population and pop. density are low and crime rates are especially high (this is even more true for the Southeastern Anatolia Region, where terrorist acts are committed every day in and out of towns). Most tourist sites are also areas of Jandarma’s jurisdiction because their average population throughout the year are not high enough to fall under the police departments.

The Turkish Jandarma is engaged in counter-terrorist operations in the southeast of Turkey.

The Jandarma also have an independent organization for Traffic Control (Jandarma Trafik) similar to that of the police, but they take shifts outside the cities; which gives them a similarity to the American Highway Police.

The JİTEM (Jandarma İstihbarat ve Terörle Mücadele / Gendarmarie Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism Organization) is also responsible to the Command General.

In Turkey, the Jandarma can generally be spotted wearing dark green trousers and light green shirts, with special red-and-blue markings on their collars. But any army officer with the same markings no matter which uniform they are in is Jandarma.

Village Guard

The village guards, established by a 1985 law, are mostly locals in villages of the Eastern Anatolia Region. They perform auxiliary and voluntary law enforcement duty. Their initial purpose was to defend villages against terrorist attacks. They were originally called Korucu or Köy Korucusu.

Military Police (Askeri İnzibat)

Askeri inzibat, is a very small force that is under military command that handles cases directly relevant to military security and military crimes. Their area of jurisdiction is generally limited to military bases. But they also track down military criminals (draft dodgers and deserters). Some of the other duties they perform are, protection and VIP detail provided to important bases or commanders, control of traffic inside the bases and providing security in military courts. They can be identified using the very obvious “AS. İZ.”, printed in large letters across the front of their helmets.


The Turkish Intelligence and counter-intelligence operations are also conducted by more than one organization also acting with constant coordination.

Firstly, the Police and the Gendarmarie each have a department that perform duties relevant to the collection and analysis of intelligence and countering criminal acts. Emniyet İstihbarat Daire, is the Police’s branch of intelligence while the famed JİTEM, is the Gendarmarie’s. JİTEM’s name came up recently in the Şemdinli affair, when two JİTEM operatives grenaded a bookstore which sold books, including ones with separatist views.

Also, each of the Armed Forces have an intelligence branch within themselves. These are the Naval Intelligence, Army Intelligence and Air Force Intelligence. To supersede all three, the General Staff also has an intelligence branch which ensures the cooperation and coordination of these organizations.

Finally and most importantly is the MIT (for Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı) (pronounced mit) which oversees all and conducts most of the internal or external intelligence operations. The head of MIT, is the MIT Müsteşarı (Undersecretary of the MIT) who reports directly to the Prime Minister himself. MIT abbreviates Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı (National Intelligence Organization). MIT is said to have been founded with the CIA’s cooperation and built after the CIA model. The public sees the MIT as a closed box, because it has no visible acts, operations; neither does it have any communication with the public. Recently there have been scandals inside the MIT, including murders and suicides, all of which remain unexplained.

ee also

External links

[ Turkish Police (Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü)]

[ Jandarma (Gendarmerie)]

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