Turkey’s Ministry of Interior, responsible for ensuring law and order throughout the Turkish territory, accomplishes its mission through four main law enforcement bodies:
- Directorate General of the Turkish National Police, responsible for the urban areas, airports, and traffic safety. The Turkish Police also play a big part in intelligence and counter-terrorism operations;
- General Gendarmerie Command, responsible for security in rural areas;
- Coast Guard Command, which supervises Turkey’s 8,484 km coastline;
- Fourth law enforcement unit, situated under the Ministry of Trade is Directorate General of Customs Enforcement (DGCE). DGCE is responsible for anti-smuggling activities at customs gates, and throughout the Turkish Customs Zone.
Border security and management overview
Turkish law assigns three law enforcement bodies to secure the borders. The Turkish Army is responsible for the protection of land borders while territory under water at the coasts is directed to Turkish Coast Guard Command and air space is under the coverage of the Turkish Air Force. But Turkish law flags the Ministry of Interior as the authorized body for the border affairs through provincial Governors.
DGCE, on the other hand, organized as a law enforcement unit under the Ministry of Trade, is responsible for maintaining public order at customs gates.
Turkey’s main governmental bodies involved in policy-making with regard to combating terrorism are the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of National Defense. The Government authorities that deal with counter-terrorism in operational terms are the Turkish National Police, the Gendarmerie General Command, the Coast Guard Command and the National Intelligence Agency. The first three organizations report to the Minister of Interior, whereby The National Intelligence Agency reports directly to the President. There are four main departments in charge of counter-terrorism in the Directorate General of Security, namely Department of Counter-Terrorism and Operations, Department of Intelligence, Department of Special Forces and Department of Witness Protection. Counter-Terrorism Department is responsible for coordinating the relevant departments, terrorist identification, screening, and tracking, searching for and gathering evidence and submitting an investigation report to the Prosecution office
Cyber/ICT Security overview
Cybersecurity activities in Turkey started with the Cabinet Decree named “Execution, Management and Coordination of National Cyber Security Activities” in 2012.
Besides some efforts made by various institutions, companies and universities; institutional and coordinated work was not performed until 2012. Pursuant to the Cabinet Decree (2012) and Electronic Communications Law (related articles added in 2014) duties and authority of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure related to cybersecurity are defined. Also, duties of Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) about cybersecurity was added in 2016 to Electronic Communication Law.
On the technical side of the organization, TR-CERT (USOM) was established in 2013 within the body of ICTA. Institutional CIRTs have been established in the bodies of public and private sector institutions and companies that run critical infrastructure and they are responsible for protecting their own systems. Sectoral CIRTs have been established in critical infrastructure sectors determined by the Cyber Security Board, which are transportation, energy, electronic communications, finance, water management, and critical governmental services.
2016-2019 National Cyber Security Strategy and Action Plan was approved by the Cyber Security Board and came into effect in 2016. Works about this Strategy and Action Plan continues.
General Directorate of Security
Functions and missions
In general, the police’s realm of responsibility is geographically located inside the municipal boundaries in Turkey. In accordance with the “Law on Duties and Powers of the Police”, the duties of the Police are to:
- provide public order;
- provide security of persons and properties;
- protect personal property and public order;
- detect, arrest and transfer both offenders and case evidence to the appropriate judicial bodies;
- perform duties apart from the administrative such as judicial assigned by laws, regulations and government acts;
- prevent crime as a prerequisite in order to protect public safety and order.
The police force also has political duties such as the protection of the integrity of the state and the preservation of constitutional order. Furthermore, the police force has administrative functions, including preventive, protective and assistance duties. Within this framework, utmost importance has been placed on training and education. The qualification of the police force has improved a great deal by raising the level of education and sending large numbers of personnel abroad for training.
Considering that traffic services have a direct effect on the economy and social life, the police force has greatly intensified monitoring efforts in recent years to maintain the safe flow of traffic and to prevent traffic accidents on city and intercity roads. A Traffic Services Department, a Highways Traffic Security Council and a Supreme Board for Highway Security have been established in order to deal with the traffic problems more effectively
Structure and organization
The Turkish National Police is composed of:
- Central organization
- Throughout the country, there are 1,267 Police Stations which serve for the citizens and there are also border gates in 62 of the 81 provinces which serve under Divisions or Offices.
Education / Training
Training provided by the Police Academy divides into two: in-service training and prevocational training. Police Academy, provides four different training programs:
- Associate Degree Program (Police Vocational College, 2 years)
- Police Vocational Training (Police Vocational Training Centers, 4 months
- First Instance Superiority Training (Police Superiors Training Center, 1 year)
- Master Training (Security Sciences Institution, 4 terms – Forensic Sciences Institution, 4 terms)
- In-service Training (In-service training are provided for Turkish National Police staff in accordance with the needs of TNP and these in-service training are coordinated)Two Police Colleges – in Ankara and Bursa, also operate directly under the General Directorate of Security.
There are other educational institutions that give expert in-service training, such as the Public Order Training Center (ASEM) and Academy of Fight against Narcotics Crimes (NEA) which provides expert training not only at in-service level but also international level.
General Gendarmerie Command
Turkey’s Gendarmerie is an armed general law enforcement body which maintains security, safety and public order and executes the duties ascribed to it by Presidential Decrees.
The Gendarmerie General Command is subordinated to the Ministry of Interior.
The Gendarmerie General Command’s jurisdiction, in general, lies in the areas that fall outside the jurisdiction of police forces which are out of provincial and district boundaries or do not have any police force. However, areas deemed fit for service necessities inside municipal borders can also be designated as Gendarmerie jurisdiction. An entire province or a district may be designated as police or gendarmerie jurisdiction by order of the Minister of the Interior.
Functions and missions
The Gendarmerie’s duties fall under three main categories: administrative, judicial, and military.
- Maintaining and protecting public order,
- Preventing, monitoring, and investigating smuggling,
- Taking and executing necessary measures for the prevention of crime,
- Guarding the Department of Corrections,
- Executing non-military and non-judicial duties ascribed to the Gendarmerie as well as other laws for public order.
- Carrying out procedures specified in the law regarding committed offences and performing relevant judicial services.
- Executing military services assigned by laws and Presidential decrees.
Structure and organization
The organization structure of the Gendarmerie General Command consists of a central organization and also provincial organizations that operate directly under the former.
The central organization includes directorates, departments, and various units for different areas, operating under Deputy Commanders of the Gendarmerie.
The provincial organization contains Gendarmerie’s Regional, Provincial, and District Commands for maintaining law and order, as well as Gendarmerie Commando and Special Operation Units of required sizes to be assigned in counter-terrorism operations and for riot control.
Departments that operate directly under the central organization include education and training units and Gendarmerie aviation units.
Education / Training
“Gendarmerie and Coast Guard Academy” has been founded under the Ministry of Interior as an institution of higher education containing faculties, vocational schools for non-commissioned officers, training and research centers and courses in order to meet officer and non-commissioned officer needs of the Gendarmerie and Coast Guard Command organizations, to provide associate, undergraduate, and graduate training and education, and to conduct scientific research and issue scientific publications.
Officers and non-commissioned officers of the Gendarmerie General Command are recruited at the Gendarmerie and Coast Guard Academy Command within annually designated quotas while specialized sergeants are trained at units in Yenifoça, Kırkağaç, Safranbolu, and Kastamonu.
Coast Guard Command
Turkish Coast Guard acts in accordance with the Law No 2692, Law No 5271 on Powers and Duties of Police dated 4/7/1934 and Law No 5271 Code of Criminal Procedure and the other relevant legislation provisions in its responsibility area during the performance of its administrative and judicial duties. Turkish Coast Guard Command was established in 1982 and the legislative degree of 668 dated 25th July 2016 Turkish Coast Guard Command was affiliated to Ministry of Interior as an Armed General Law Enforcement Force. Turkish Coast Guard possesses the power and responsibilities that Gendarmerie and Police have while fulfilling these duties.
Coast Guard Command performs its duties assigned by laws and international conventions and fulfils its mandates.
Functions and missions
Turkish Coast Guard Command is assigned and authorized to maintain, protect and monitor maritime security, maritime safety and public order as well as to prevent the commission of offences at the Republic of Turkey’s coastlines including all maritime areas from the junction of land and sea, the port facilities found in the areas and other facilities, marina, fishing port, boatyard, fishery, piers, docks, similar coastal facilities and moorings supporting them; internal waters such as the Marmara Sea, İstanbul and Çanakkale Straits, seaports, bays, territorial waters, exclusive economic zone, the maritime areas that are under Turkish sovereignty and control pursuant to national and international laws, international waters within the framework of missions for protecting sovereign rights and Turkish Search and Rescue Region declared to IMO within the scope of international conventions. Coast Guard Command’s duty and responsibility areas might be specified in the other areas deemed appropriate in terms of service requirements by decree of Ministry of Interior of the Turkish Republic.
As a general armed law enforcement force at seas, affiliated to Ministry of Interior Coast Guard Command’s duties and mandates were determined with the Regulation on the Organization, Duties and Powers of the Coast Guard Command upon its publication in the Official Gazette No 29995 and dated 21 January 2017. Within this framework, Coast Guard Command has three main duties. These are “Administrative Duties”, “Judicial Duties” and “Military Duties”.
Coast Guard Command’s judicial duties encompass acting for committed offences in the direction of Code of Criminal Procedure and performing judicial services for them.
In the events of mobilization and war, the certain units of Turkish Coast Guard Command determined by Presidential Decree enter into the service of the Turkish Naval Forces Command while the rest of the units continue fulfilling their own regular duties. Additionally, the Command is to participate in the training and exercises organized by Turkish Naval Forces Command by permission of Ministry of Interior of Turkish Republic without hindering its fundamental tasks. These are the Command’s military duties.
Furthermore, Coast Guard Command maintains, protects and safeguards the safety and public order; prevents and inquires smuggling; ensures maritime security of strategic facilities in cooperation with relevant organizations, takes and conducts the required measures to prevent the commission of offences.
Within this framework its administrative duties:
- Conducting medical evacuation and patient transfer activities occurred at seas and on islands in coordination with relevant agencies.
- Developing means and capabilities to pursue and monitor in view of maintaining maritime safety and security and taking all necessary measures.
- Providing maritime security for government officials, the strategic facilities and ships as well as the ships carrying dangerous and hazardous cargo while passing through Turkish Straits.
- Patrolling for the purpose of maintaining the control and maritime security at maritime areas and sea borders in which Turkey has sovereignty rights.
- Pursuing, monitoring foreign military and state ships’ activities and intervening to the harassments towards the ships with Turkish flag inflicted by foreign military or state ships as well as violations against national interests in conformity with rules of engagement.
- Pursuing, observing and monitoring such activities as the scientific research, exploration of hydrocarbon, drilling, installing cable and pipelines and fishing as well as preventing illegal activities at maritime jurisdiction areas.
- Conducting search and rescue activities pursuant to the national and international legislation at the responsibility area within Turkish Search and Rescue Region.
- Preventing all kinds of smuggling activities carried out by sea and taking necessary measures.
- Inspecting all kinds of commercial and amateur fishing activities.
- Monitoring and preventing activities against the prohibition of pollution at seas in view of preventing maritime pollution and conducting necessary inspections.
- Ensuring safety and security at seas in conformity with Law No 4922 Protection of Life and Property in the Sea.
- Taking necessary legal actions within the framework of Law No 6458 on Foreigners and International Protection on those entering or leaving Turkey illegally or foreigners attempting this action.
- Conducting inspections regarding Passport Law No 5682.
- Preventing unlicensed research, drilling and digging activities carried out without permission to uncover the cultural and natural properties at seas, to dive in the forbidden areas and to carry away cultural and natural properties that should be protected in the country pursuant to Law No. 2863 on Conservation of Cultural and Natural Property.
- Taking necessary measures and informing relevant authorities on explosives and suspicious materials seen at its responsibility area in conformity with the Law No 4536.
- Conducting inspections in accordance with the Law No 815 on Cabotage at the Turkish Coastlines and Trade at the Territorial Waters and Ports.
- Inspecting the sea vessels which operate in the field of domestic and foreign yacht and sea tourism within the framework of Law No 2634 on Incentive to Tourism, as well as the enterprises on water sports and their documents pursuant to the Regulation on Sportive Activities with the Purpose of Tourism.
- Conducting inspections regarding Turkish flag pursuant to Law No 2893 Turkish Flag Law and the legal provision of the Law No 6102 on Turkish Trade.
- Carrying out inspections pursuant to Law No 5326 on Misdemeanor, Law No 5809 on Electronic Communication and Law No 2548 on Ship Sanitary.
- Fulfilling duties in line with national interests and national policies with respect to the disputed islands, islets, rocks, sea structures and maritime areas.
In addition to the duties indicated above The Coast Guard may inspect foreign trade vessels in line with the procedures provided in the international law, in cases of suspected activities of piracy, migrant smuggling, trafficking of human beings and drug smuggling at open seas, and for the prevention of unauthorized transmission at open seas, may engage in international cooperation on the above-mentioned matters, coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Coast Guard Command also fulfils any duty arising from national and international law to fight against crimes.
In accordance with the Coast Guard Command Regulation on the Organization, Duties, and Powers, ships and boats belonging to the Coast Guard have state ship status and air assets have state aircraft status and thus possess the rights and privileges accordingly.
Tasks of the aircraft, helicopters and ships in the Coast Guard’s inventory are planned by Coast Guard considering primarily the demands of local administrators and necessities arising from the duties. Coast Guard’s air and sea assets do not have a certain responsibility area. They perform duty within the whole responsibility area of Coast Guard Command.
Directorate General of Customs Enforcement
Functions and missions
The DGCE, being one of the four law enforcement authority in Turkey, operates under the Ministry of Trade. In the provinces, it operates under the command of 19 Regional Directorates.
Ministry of Trade prepares Customs Policy, carries out customs procedures in a fast, effective way at the determined standards, and determines the fundamental aims of commerce and prepares the commerce policy.
The DGCE carries out procedures about customs enforcement services with regard to railway, road, maritime and airline transportation conducts anti-smuggling activities, provides public safety and order within customs area, analysing risks on cargo and passenger transportation, collecting information, making assessment and reporting and cooperating with foreign customs enforcement services.
For the purpose of anti-smuggling; the DGCE carries out investigation and operations by collecting intelligence, collaborates with national and international organizations and performing joint operations as needed, sets up databases based on the flow of information.
Structure and Organization
The DGCE Headquarters is located in Ankara. 30 Customs Enforcement and Anti-Smuggling Directorates operate 24/7 as a law enforcement unit at the Turkish Customs zone. There is a Command and Control Centre at the headquarters, and a WCO accredited Dog Training Centre in Ankara.
Education / Training
After graduation from universities, Turkish citizens can take a centralized exam for civil servants, and then apply for a job in the Ministry. If selected, customs enforcement officers receive vocational training for at least 3 months at the Education Centre of our Ministry. Afterwards, they receive in-house specialized training courses on multiple issues, should the need arise.
National Intelligence Organization
The National Intelligence Organization (Turkish: Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı, MİT) is subordinated directly to the President.
Functions and missions
The MIT was entrusted with the duty to:
- collect nationwide security intelligence on existing and potential threats from internal and external sources;
- communicate the collected intelligence to the President, the Prime Minister, the Chief of General Staff, the Secretary General of the National Security Council and meet the requirements and needs concerning the planning of national security policy of these authorities;
- counteract intelligence
- The MIT members, when carrying out their duties specified in the Establishment Law, can use the rights and authorities of the police in protecting the installations and members of the MIT and in the field of counter-espionage.
Structure and organization
The Undersecretary of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization is appointed with the approval of the President after agreement with the National Security Council and proposal by the Prime Minister. He is accountable only to the Prime Minister.
Education / Training
Applicants who have passed the entrance examination of the National Intelligence Organization are provided with basic training lasting for 23-24 weeks at the MIT Training Center in the course of their probational period.
Cyber/ICT Security agencies
Cyber Security Board
Cyber Security Board had been established in 2012 in Turkey. As Turkey’s highest cybersecurity authority the Board’s duties according to Electronic Communications Law are “approving the policies, strategies and action plans about cybersecurity and taking decisions aimed at the nationwide execution of those” and “settling the offers to determine critical infrastructures and performing the other duties assigned by laws.”. With the Presidency Circular No. 2018/3, the organizational structure of the Board has been started to change, keeping the duties of the Board. Change process through legislative work is ongoing.
Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure
According to Electronic Communication Law, the main duties and tasks of the Ministry are as follows:
Determination of policy, strategy and goals, determination of procedure and principles, preparation of action plans, designating the organization of cyber incidents response teams, performing activities for awareness-raising and education, ensuring coordination, determination of critical infrastructure and their institutions and status, generating, developing and promoting activities with the aim of producing national solutions and any kind of cyber response tools, preparing procedure and principles that natural and legal person performing activities in the field of cybersecurity should obey.
Information and Communication Technologies Authority
According to Electronic Communication Law, ICTA shall take or force to take all measures to protect public institutions and organizations, natural and legal persons against cyber attacks and to provide deterrence against these attacks.
Works 24/7 evaluates and performs alarm, notice and awareness activities in coordination with Institutional and Sectoral CIRTs. In addition, awareness raising and preparation activities of the institutions and organizations against cyber attacks are carried out. TR-CERT has become a member of international organizations such as FIRST, CAMP, TI, ITU-IMPACT and the activities in these organizations are followed.