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Special Forces Command
The Maroon Berets are a highly trained elite special operations armed force unit that was created by officers from the Turkish Army. They are also called "Bordo Bereliler". Their priority is to eliminate terrorists, attackers and foreign military threats on the Turkish Republic and provide homeland security. Other missions include behind enemy lines operations, high risk reconnaissance missions and front line engagement and termination missions.
There are three categories of education and training that a MB will undergo. These are Domestic, International and Specialty
Within these three categories, there are 47 different subjects. Domestic training takes 72 weeks of basic training; International training takes 10 to 52 weeks of specialized training in different countries. It takes 3.5 – 5 years to become a MB commando.
The Maroon Berets (MB) came into the public spotlight when they captured the PKK terrorist organization leader Abdullah Öcalan in Kenya. The identities of MB personal is classified. Unlike other special operations teams, MB Officers are battle hardened and are constantly operating and are active in the war on the PKK in the south eastern Iraqi border region of Turkey and even cross border action into Northern Iraq.
Beginning and involvement in the Korean War
In a bid to gain membership into NATO, Republic of Turkey sent army troops to combat during the Korean War. At the time the United States military didn't have special operations team therefore the Maroon Berets were the only special operations team to operate in the Korean War. MB officers would operate assault missions into North Korean territory and would recon and intelligence gathering missions into China. MB commandos were the only foreign armed force to operate on Chinese soil at that time[source?]. As of this date, the exact details and operations of the MB commandos in the Korean War remains classified.
In 1992, their name changed to "Maroon Berets" (Turkish: Bordo Bereliler).
1974 Turkish Invasion of Cyprus
The Maroon Berets remained highly active in the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus in 1974 ( also known as the 1974 Turkish-Greek war) and played a major role in the outcome of the (Turkish victory) war. Turkish MB commandos priority throughout the war was to eliminate the Greek Junta armed forcein Cyprus which would ultimately cause the collapse of the Greek Junta Political-Military heavily armed force. The Maroon Berets and the Turkish Army would achieve this through two Invasions Invasion A and Invasion B with invasion scout and reconnaissance missions prior to Invasion A and Invasion B. Maroon Beret commandos would land undetected using high speed attack boats for Scouting and reconnaissance before the two main Invasion landing. They would sneak for miles giving locations for the main invasion landing vessels to land on, bomb coordinates for the Air Force to strike, map terrain, mark danger zones and hidden mine fields for the upcoming invading soldiers and plant charges to blow during the invasion. Their scouting and reconnaissance would last from 3 hours to 3 days. These missions were often highly risky and critical for the safety of Turkish Infantry troops, tanks and transport vehicles.
War on the PKK and Turkish incursions into northern Iraq
The Maroon Berets conduct daily operations against the PKK terrorist organization in the ongoing clashes between Turkish Security forces and Kurdish PKK Terrorists in an effort for an independent Kurdish state in south eastern Turkey and northern Iraq. Aside from daily operations Maroon Berets participated and led the Turkish Army into battle in 5 Invasions into Northern Iraq as far as 32 kilometers.
October 5th 1992, Operation Northern Iraq, in retaliation to an simultaneous attacks on 3 Turkish Gendarme Station which left 28 soldiers dead and 125 wounded. The Turkish Military captured 1,232 PKK terrorists and had killed another 1,551.[source?]
March 20th 1995, Operation Steel in retaliation of a Kurdish attack which left 64 Turkish soldiers dead and another 185 wounded. Result in the killing of 555 terrorists and the capture and execution of 13.[source?]
May 12th 1997, Operation Hammer in retaliation the a Kurdish attack which left 114 Turkish soldiers dead and another 338 wounded. Turkish Forces killed 2,730 and captured 415, all to be executed after prison sentences of 25 years.[source?]
September 25th 1997, operation Dawn, in retaliation to another attack which killed 31 Turkish soldiers and 91 wounded. 694 Killed and 151 executed on live television by firing squads in 3 different broadcasts.[source?]
February 21st, 2008 operation Sun in retaliation to a 5th Kurdish attack which killed 27 Turkish soldiers. Turkish Forces would kill 240 and capture 320, to jail.[source?]
All of the Invasions were led by Maroon Beret commandos followed by Gendarme Commandos and then by Army Soldiers.
Training and recruitment
Maroon Berets are all recruited from high rank Army officers who volunteer to join. Each recruit must have at least served 3 years as an Army soldier and must have certain amount of time received by Army operations either from exercises or actual clashes. They must undergo A) Domestic training witch takes 72 weeks B) International training takes 10 to 52 weeks depending on the rank of the volunteering officer. and C) specialty. After graduating from Special Operations Training commandos are tested before officially becoming an MB officer. They are expected to survive in all environmental conditions for at least 2 weeks, so they are left as an entire team in different environments each on with no equipment or help for 2 weeks as a part of the final testing stage. If they survive they become MB commandos. They are also tested by a number of other near impossible tests which can be anything from performing the Trust shot to a few questions on subjects they learned in training. On the last month of training Maroon Berets receive interrogation and torture training. The last month of training is called hell month, similar to the United States Navy Seals hell week training.
The Trust Shot (Turkish: Gūven Atışı) is a part of the MB's training program. It is exercised on the last month of the training and is to ensure that the soldiers can trust each other with their lives. The Trust Shot consists of two members of a squad standing next to paper target boards, while another member fires on the targets with a handgun while walking towards them from 15 meters (49.2 feet) away. The MB's are the only special operations team in the world to exercise the trust shot.
During the exercise the men standing next to the targets are not allowed to move or wear body armor.