Special Organization (Ottoman Empire)
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Special Organization Ottoman Empire

The Special Organization (Ottoman Turkish: ? ‎, Te?kilât-? Mahsusa) was an Ottoman imperial government special forces unit under the War Department and was allegedly used to suppress Arab separatism and Western imperialism in the Ottoman Empire.[1] Many members of this organization also played leading roles in the First World War. The members of the organization also participated in the resistance against Italians in Libya.[2] It was the progenitor of the National Security Service (Turkish: Milli Emniyet Hizmeti) of the Republic of Turkey, which was itself the predecessor of the modern National Intelligence Organization (Turkish: Milli ?stihbarat Te?kilat?, M?T).

Activities (1913-1918)

The exact date of establishment is unclear or disputed. According to some researchers, the organization might have been established by Enver Pasha, who placed Süleyman Askeri in charge of the organization on 17 November 1913.[3][4] Its establishment date is rather vague since it was really a continuation of various smaller groups established by Enver Pasa and friends in the aftermath of 1908 Young Turk Revolution[5].

Enver Pasha assumed the primary role in the direction of the Special Organization and its center of administration moved to Erzurum.[6] Many members of this organization who had played particular roles in the Armenian Genocide also participated in the Turkish national movement.[7] In Thrace and western Anatolia the Special Organization assisted by government and army officials, deported all Greek men of military age to labor brigades beginning in summer 1914 and lasting through 1916.[8]

The first leader was Süleyman Askeri Bey. After his death, he was replaced by Ali Bach Hamba on 14 April 1915, who held the post until the Armistice of Mudros.[4] During World War I E?ref Sencer Ku?çubas? was allegedly the director of operations in Arabia, the Sinai, and North Africa[9]. He was captured at Yemen in early 1917 by the British military and was a POW in Malta until 1920 and subsequently released in exchange for British POW.[4] However, Ahmet Efe has written that the Ottoman military archives have detailed information on the organization's personnel, and that Ku?çubas? is not mentioned.[4]

The last director, Hüsamettin Ertürk, later worked as an agent in Istanbul of the Ankara government following the Armistice.[10] He also wrote a memoir called ?ki Devrin Perde Arkas? (Behind the Scenes of Two Eras).[11]

This list includes allegedly notable members, according to an interview with its purported former leader E?ref Ku?çuba by U.S. INR officer Philip H. Stoddard:[3][12] Although the bulk of its 30,000 members were drawn from trained specialists such as doctors, engineers, and journalists, the organization also employed criminals denoted babozuk, who had been released from prison in 1913 by amnesty.[3][13]


The organization was dismantled following a parliamentary debate and replaced by the Worldwide Islamic Revolt (Turkish: Umûm Âlem-i ?slâm ?htilâl Te?kilât?) after World War I. This organization held its first meeting in Berlin. However, it was forced underground by the British, who refused to let these German allies operate.[13]

In 1921, Atatürk founded another secret organization called the National Defense Society (Turkish: Müdafaa-i Milliye Cemiyeti), headed by the former chief of the Special Organization, Hüsamettin Ertürk.[13]

See also


  1. ^ "MIT, 'Turkey's CIA,' celebrates 80th anniversary". Turkish Daily News. 2007-01-07. Archived from the original on 2013-01-13. Retrieved . ...the new intelligence agency of the republic was in fact the continuation of the Ottoman Te?kilat-? Mahsusa (Special Organization)
  2. ^ "Elli devletin temelinde TE?K?LAT'IN HARCI VAR". Yeni ?afak. 2005-11-14. Retrieved .
  3. ^ a b c Eren, M. Ali (1995-11-11). "Cumhuriyeti Te?kilat-? Mahsusa kurdu". Aksiyon (in Turkish). Feza Gazetecilik A.?. 49. Archived from the original on August 23, 2007. Retrieved .
  4. ^ a b c d K?l?ç, Ecevit (2007-12-17). "Türk istihbarat?n?n kurucusu bir vatan haini miydi?". Sabah (in Turkish). Retrieved .
  5. ^ "Teskilat-i Mahsusa" Philip H. Stoddard (translated by Tansel Demirel), 1993, Arma Yayinlari, Istanbul, pp. 49-54.
  6. ^ Enver Pa?a, Te?kilat-? Mahsusa'n?n yönetilip yönlendirilmesinde birinci derecede rol üstlenmi?ti., Recep Mara?l?, Ermeni Ulusal Demokratik Hareketi ve 1915 Soyk?r?m?, Pêrî Yay?nlar?, 2008, ISBN 978-975-9010-68-3, p. 252. (in Turkish)
  7. ^ Taner Akçam, Türk Ulusal Kimli?i ve Ermeni Sorunu, ?leti?im Yay?nlar?, 1992, ISBN 9789754702897 p. 155.
  8. ^ Isabel V. Hull, Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany, Cornell University Press, 2006, IBN 9780801472930, p. 273.
  9. ^ "Teskilat-i Mahsusa" Philip H. Stoddard (translated by Tansel Demirel), 1993, Arma Yayinlari, Istanbul.
  10. ^ Berkes, Niyazi (1959-12-31). "2 Devrin Perde Arkas?". Oriens (in Turkish). BRILL. 12 (1/2): 202. doi:10.2307/1580200. JSTOR 1580200.
  11. ^ Özbek, Öner (2008-09-13). "Yakup Cemil: Devlet içinde devlet olan adam". Taraf (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 2008-09-13. Retrieved .
  12. ^ Parker, Richard Bordeaux (2001). The October War: A Retrospective. University Press of Florida. p. 126. ISBN 0-8130-1853-6. Retrieved . I'm Phil Stoddard, who, at the time, was the deputy director of INR's Near East-South Asia Office.
  13. ^ a b c Bovenkerk, Frank; Ye?ilgöz, Yücel (2004). "The Turkish Mafia and the State" (PDF). In Cyrille Fijnaut, Letizia Paoli (ed.). Organized Crime in Europe: Concepts, Patterns and Control Policies in the European Union and Beyond. Springer. pp. 594-5. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-2765-9. ISBN 1-4020-2615-3.


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