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HISTORY OF THE MIT

Increasing need of nations to get information in advance about each other's political, social, economic, military activities and expectations have obliged them to establish some formations exclusively charged with collecting information.

Enver Pasha

In our country, the efforts to establish an intelligence organization that would function in a systematic and organized manner were started during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. In that period, in order to preserve the political unity, to prevent the separatist activities, and particularly to follow the activities of the foreign nations mostly focused on the Middle East, the need had emerged to give a centralized and organized nature to the intelligence activities, then being carried out on an individual and limited basis, and an intelligence organization was established on November 17, 1913 by Enver Pasha under the name of TESKILAT-I MAHSUSA (Special Organization). That organization, which had undertaken important missions and had carried out military and paramilitary activities during the First World War, was dissolved at the end of the war, following the Moudhros Truce of October 30, 1918.

In the period that followed the Moudhros Truce, a new intelligence unit was formed in late 1918 under the name of KARAKOL CEMIYETI (Police Guild). This new organization carried out many important missions during the National Liberation War through providing arms to people and to small armed groups for fighting against the occupation forces in Anatolia, and also through providing supplies and equipment to the national forces. When Istanbul was occupied on March 16, 1920, the activities of this organization came to an end with the arrest of its members.

After the dissolution of the KARAKOL CEMIYETI, various intelligence groups were formed such as ZABITAN and YAVUZ. One of these groups, namely the HAMZA GRUBU (Hamza Group), which was established on September 23, 1920, changed its name to FELAH GRUBU (Felah Group) on August 31, 1921, and intelligence groups continued their activities until the end of the National Liberation War.

ASKERI POLIS TESKILATI (Military Police Organization - shortly called as A.P. or P.) was founded by the Turkish General Staff on July 18, 1920 with the aim of putting an end to the chaos prevailing among different intelligence organizations and countering the enemy's espionage activities and propaganda infiltrating the army ranks. This organization, which had carried out successful missions during the war, was dissolved on March 21, 1921. The vacuum that arose in the intelligence activities with the dissolution of the Askeri Polis Teskilati was filled in a short time with the establishment of TEDKIK HEYETI AMIRLIKLERI (Inspection Board Directorates) again by the Turkish General Staff in various Anatolian provinces during the period of April 1, 1921 and June 22, 1922.

Marshal Fevzi Cakmak
Later, in the light of the previous experiences and with the aim of reaching the newly established objectives, another intelligence group named MUSELLAH MUDAFAA-I MILLIYE (Armed National Defense) was founded, this time under the instructions of Fevzi CAKMAK, Chief of General Staff. On May 3, 1921, the Turkish Grand National Assembly officially approved the establishment of that organization, which was called shortly as "M.M." (MIM MIM).

While the TEDKIK HEYETI AMIRLIKLERI were carrying out their activities in Anatolia, the "M.M" organization managed to establish in Istanbul an extensive network of spies and intelligence consisting of a large cadre of military and civilian officers; organized the activities to secretly transfer weapons and ammunitions to Anatolia; and infiltrated the enemy headquarters, foreign missions, and groups collaborating with the enemy to get important information and documents. This organization, which also maintained cooperation during the National Liberation War with various intelligence groups established against the enemy activities, was dissolved on October 5, 1923 following the liberation of Istanbul.

During the period, which followed the dissolution of intelligence organizations and foundation of the Republic of Turkey, the intelligence activities were carried out by the Intelligence Branches of Army Inspectorships until the year 1926.

The Establishment Document 10152 of January 6, 1926 of Milli Emniyet Hizmeti (M.E.H.) Riyaseti (Documents from the Private Archives of the MIT)
Later, in late 1925, ATATURK gave the order for the establishment of a modern intelligence organization having the same standards with those in the developed countries. Thus, with the participation of the cadres that had been trained in European countries, and under the official order (January 6, 1926) of Field Marshal Fevzi CAKMAK, Chief of General Staff, the first intelligence organization of the Republic of Turkey was established under the name of MILLI EMNIYET HIZMETI RIYASETI (M.E.H./MAH) (Directorate of the National Security Service). Structurally, the organization was subordinated to the Ministry of Internal Affairs on January 5, 1927. The one-year period between January 6, 1926 and January 5, 1927 was regarded as the preparatory period for the establishment of the Service by the then leaders, and the day later, January 6, 1927 was accepted as the foundation day of the MAH.
Sukru Ali Ogel

Sukru Ali OGEL was appointed as the Director of the MAH, which still keeps its importance as a symbol in the eyes of the MIT members, since it firmly connects the historical roots of the MIT to the future.

The MAH, which had undergone during its history some small-scale structural changes in consistence with the emerging needs, successfully conducted Turkey's intelligence activities until the year 1965.

 

 

     
Symbols used by the National Security Service during 1927-1931

With a view to have the intelligence, which is to be collected on every subject relevant to the formulation of the State's national security policy, gathered at one center, the Turkish Grand National Assembly passed on July 22, 1965 Law no. 644, under which the name of the organization was changed as the MILLI ISTIHBARAT TESKILATI - MIT (National Intelligence Organization). The same law also provided for the control of the organization by an Undersecretary who would be responsible only to the Prime Minister in the fulfillment of duties defined in the law.

The MIT had carried out its duties for about 19 years under the provisions of Law no. 644. However, the rapidly changing conditions and new developments brought the need for new legal arrangements. To that end, on November 1, 1983 Law no. 2937 on the "State Intelligence Services and the National Intelligence Organization" was passed. This law was put into effect as of January 1, 1984. The MIT, which has a modern structural organization and closely follows every kind of technological developments that would help the achievement of national objectives, with its experienced professional and technical staff, is successfully fulfilling its duties defined in the law in a manner firmly devoted to the principles of pluralist democracy, supremacy of law, impartiality and human rights.


*** The historical information presented above was compiled from the book titled "History of the National Intelligence Organization" which was prepared for the memory of the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the National Intelligence Organization.