Turkish Air Force


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1944-1980


In 1944, a decision was made to combine all air units, functioning as affiliated to Air Under Secretariat within the structure of Ministry of Defense for logistic support and to Turkish General Staff for operations and training since 1940, under a single command. For this purpose, the Air Force Command was established on 31 January 1944. Thus the Turkish Air Force Command acquired its own identity as a separate command within the structure of the Turkish Armed Forces along with the Army and Navy.

In the organization of the Turkish Air Force which was actually inaugurated on 4 February 1944, only the combatant air units were affiliated to the command while logistics support units and training establishments were left within the structures of the Ministry of Defense and General Staff respectively. Lieutenant General Zeki Doğan was assigned as the first commander of the newly established Turkish Air Force. The Air Force Command was upgraded to army level in 1947, and logistic support establishments and all air units / establishments other than the Air War (Staff) College were affiliated to the Air Force Command in 1948 and 1950, respectively.


Subsequently, in parallel with the developing aviation technology, schools inaugurated at various times to train aviation personnel on specialties and branches other than pilots, were gathered under a single command in 1950, and for this purpose the Air Technical Schools Command was established. In addition to the abovementioned subjects, an important development also occurred in 1950 about aircraft types in the inventory of the Air Force and a decision was made to acquire jet aircraft. Therefore, eight flying personnel were sent to the USA on 15 October 1950 to receive jet training and were assigned as instructors in orientation training for jet aircraft, after completing their training in the USA and returning to the country on 31 August 1951.

In the same year, the establishment of bases and squadrons was initiated, and the 9th Jet Base Command established in Balıkesir became the first jet base of the Turkish Air Force while the 191st, 192nd and the 193th squadrons the first jet squadrons. After Turkey's integration into NATO in 1952, transition to jet aircraft gained speed and propeller-driven aircraft were gradually staged out. In the same year air divisions were upgraded to corps level and named as tactical air forces. On 30 August 1956, the Army Corps Air Training Command was established and all units and institutions regarding the training of air force personnel were gathered under the jurisdiction of this command.


Later, it was called the Air Training Command in 1957. The training and proficiency level of the Turkish Air Force personnel was increased to the level required by the modern age and this level was maintained at all times in between the dates the Air Force was established and the year 1951 during which transition to jet aircraft was accomplished. This characteristic of the Turkish Air Force personnel continued even after the transition to jet aircraft and became a source of pride.


In the abovementioned period; some important events which will give an idea about the level of training and proficiency of the Turkish Air Force personnel included: two championships in international military pentathlon, flight rally, 1954 - 1955 and hence winning the Challenge Cup; first place in Best Hit air gunnery race, 1971 and air gunnery race, 1955 performed in NATO's Southeastern Region; second place in Best Hit air gunnery race, 1972; championships in air gunnery race, 1973 and military pentathlon race, 1975; and finally the achievements of the Turkish Air Force during the Cyprus intervention in 1974.




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