Turkish Military Academy, (Turkish: Kara Harp Okulu), is a four year co-educational military academy located in the center of Ankara. Its mission is to develop cadets mentally and physically for service as commissioned officers in the Turkish Army.
Originally located in the Harbiye neighborhood of Istanbul, the academy was formed in 1834, and the first officers graduated in 1841. Its formation was a part of military reforms within the Ottoman Empire as it recognized the need for more educated officers to modernize its army. The need for a new military order was part of Sultan Mahmud II's reforms, continued by his son Abdülmecit. The Janissaries, the traditional leaders of the Ottoman military, were removed from their position and traditional role in the Ottoman military after the Auspicious Incident in 1826.
During World War I and the subsequent Turkish War of Independence period, in which modern Turkey was formed, the academy was moved temporarily to Ankara. The first officers graduated here in November, 1920 to serve the newly formed Republic of Turkey. After the Treaty of Lausanne, the academy was moved back to Istanbul. On September 25, 1936, the Military Academy was transferred again permanently to a new building in Ankara. The Academy's two-year education period was arranged to be three-year education period in 1948, two years in 1963, three years in 1971, and finally four years in 1974.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, military hero and political reformist, is one of the most famous graduates. The day that Atatürk entered the academy, March 13, 1899, is recognized at the academy. '13th March' is also the name of a building on the campus that houses the library as well as some cadet stores and a cafe....
There are roughly 4,000 cadets attending Kara Harp Okulu. In order to enter the academy, prospective cadets first apply to military high school after primary schooling. Only students displaying the potential to become officers are accepted. There are three military high schools in Turkey. Maltepe Military High School in Ýzmir, Kuleli Military High School in Istanbul and Iþýklar Military High School in Bursa. Each military high school has a four year program, and after completion, cadets from all three schools enter Kara Harp Okulu. A small number of cadets also enter the school from civilian high schools. Military high schools are all male schools, so all female cadets at Kara Harp Okulu come from civilian high schools. Kara Harp Okulu is the only source of commissioned officers for the Turkish Army. After graduation cadets are required to serve for 15 years.
The academy is made up of one regiment and four battalions, or (Turkish Tabur for singular, Taburlar for plural, and Taburu in singular-possessive constructions (like in Battalion of Izmir, which would be Izmir Taburu)), named after famous campaigns during the Turkish War of Independence. 1st Battalion is the Anafartalar Battalion, 2nd is the Dumlupinar Battalion, 3rd is the Sakarya Battalion and 4th is the Malazgirt Battalion. Each battalion has a separate building, which contains a number of facilities including barracks, dining halls, classrooms, day rooms and study rooms. The cadet regiment has a cadet chain of command which rotates during the school year. The cadet regiment also has a chain of command of regular army officers in mentoring and leadership roles. The academy's regimental commander is a very prestigious position and usually precludes a higher position within the Turkish Army.
The cadets are distinguishable and organized by their graduating class as well as their cadet unit. In their classroom uniform, each cadet wears a thin gold bar on their epilate for each year they have been at the academy. Senior cadets, with four bars, also wear the color of the branch of the Turkish Army that they will be entering upon graduation on their collar. For example, green for infantry and gray for armor. The under three classes wear blue on their collar which signifies that they have not yet chosen a branch. The cadet also wears an identification number, a four digit number issued upon entrance to the academy. Ataturk's cadet number, 1283 , has been reserved and will not be issued to another cadet. The cadet dress uniform is the same as the Turkish Army officer’s uniform, except for the addition of two gold cords looped from the right shoulder across the front right suspending two metal pins. One pin is long, and symbolizes peace while the other is short and symbolizes war.