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Turkish Armed Forces

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The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF; Turkish: Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri, TSK) are the military forces of the Republic of Turkey. They consist of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. The Gendarmerie and the Coast Guard, both of which have law enforcement and military functions, operate as components of the internal security forces in peacetime, and are subordinate to the Ministry of Interior. In wartime, they are subordinate to the Army and Navy. The President of Turkey is the military's overall head.

The current Chief of the General staff is General Hulusi Akar. The Chief of the General Staff is the Commander of the Armed Forces. In wartime, he acts as the Commander in Chief on behalf of the President of Turkey, who represents the Supreme Military Command of the TAF on behalf of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Commanding the Armed Forces and establishing the policies and programs related with the preparation for combat of personnel, intelligence, operations, organization, training and logistic services are the responsibilities of the General Staff. Furthermore, the General Staff coordinates the military relations of the TAF with NATO member states and other friendly nations.

The modern history of the army began with its formation after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish military perceived itself as the guardian of Kemalist ideology, the official state ideology, especially of the secular aspects of Kemalism. After becoming a member of NATO on February 18th 1952, Turkey initiated a comprehensive modernization program for its armed forces. The Turkish Army sent troops to fight in Korea, where they played pivotal roles at some points. Towards the end of the 1980s, a second restructuring process was initiated. The Turkish Armed Forces participate in European Union battlegroups under the control of the European Council, namely the Italian-Romanian-Turkish Battlegroup. The TAF also contributes operational staff to the Eurocorps multinational army corps initiative of the EU and NATO.

The Turkish Armed Forces collectively rank as the second largest standing military force in NATO, after the U.S. Armed Forces, with an estimated strength in 2015 of 639,551 military, civilian and paramilitary personnel. Turkey is one of five NATO member states which are part of the nuclear sharing policy of the alliance, together with Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. A total of ninety B61 nuclear bombs are hosted at the Incirlik Air Base, 40 of which are allocated for use by the Turkish Air Force in case of a nuclear conflict, but their use requires the approval of NATO.

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