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The Turkish Armed Forces in Northern Cyprus[1] officially the Cyprus Turkish Peace Force (Turkish: Kıbrıs Türk Barış Kuvvetleri or KTBK) is the Turkish military garrison on Cyprus. In 1974 Turkish troops invaded Cyprus following a Greek Cypriot coup (organized and supported by the Greek government, which was still in the hands of a military junta) which wanted to enforce union with Greece, occupying the northern third of the island. The invasion force, which consisted of about 40,000 soldiers and 200 tanks, subsequently was reduced to a garrison of 17,000 troops. It outnumbers the Greek military contingent on the island, which is supplemented by the Greek Cypriot National Guard of 12,000 active and 75,000 reserves. Air reinforcement of the Turkish troops can be effected, if necessary, within hours.[2] Nevertheless, the unresolved dispute over Cyprus complicates Turkish participation in NATO and remains an obstacle to NATO's effectiveness in the region.[3]


Cyprus Turkish Brigade[]

Turkey maintains illegally the Cyprus Turkish Brigade (Kıbrıs Türk Alayı) in the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus. On 16 August 1960, the brigade was organized as follows[citation needed]:

  • Günyeli Group (Günyeli Grubu)
    • 2nd Infantry Company (2 nci Piyade Bölüğü)
    • 3rd Infantry Company (3 ncü Piyade Bölüğü)
    • Heavy Weapons Company (Ağır Silah Bölüğü)
  • Ortaköy Group (Ortaköy Grubu)
    • 1st Infantry Company (1 nci Piyade Bölüğü)
    • 4th Infantry Company (4 ncü Piyade Bölüğü)
    • Regimental HQ Company (Alay Karargâh Servis Bölüğü)

Invasion of Cyprus[]

In July 1974, Turkey landed forces on the northern part of Cyprus after the military coup of July 15, 1974. Turkish forces involved in operations were as follows[citation needed]:

  • An airborne (parachute) brigade (Commander: Brig.Gen. Sabri Evren)
  • A commando brigade (Commander: Brig.Gen. Sabri Demirbağ')
  • A Special Strike Force Landing Brigade (Turkish Marines) (Commander: Brig.Gen. Süleyman Tuncer)
  • The 39th Infantry Division (Commander: Maj.Gen. Bedrettin Demirel)
  • The 28th Infantry Division (Commander: Maj.Gen. Osman Fazıl Polat)

Post invasion[]

It has been on Cyprus since the Turkish invasion of 1974, and initially consisted of the following Turkish Army units[citation needed]:

  • Cyprus Turkish Peace Force Command
    • 28th Infantry Division - headquartered at Asha (Paşaköy) to the northeast of Nicosia, and the
    • 39th Infantry Division - headquartered at Camlibel within the district of Girne.
    • 14th Armoured Brigade - also in Asha (Paşaköy) with M48 Patton tanks.[4]
    • A Special Force Regiment
    • An Artillery Regiment
    • Naval units

The corps reserve was at Kythrea (Değirmenlik) to the northeast of Nicosia.


The original force of 40,000 troops was reduced with Turkish authorities claiming that the Turkish force in Cyprus had been reduced to 17,500 in the 1990s.[5] However, according to the UN Secretary-General “It is estimated that in recent years there have been in the northern part of the island a little under 30,000 armed forces of the Republic of Turkey (Turkish Forces) making it one of the most militarized areas in the world in terms of numbers of troops and numbers of civilian population. Recently moreover there have been indications that the total numbers of Turkish forces on the island may have increased” S994/680 7.6.1994.par.28.

Turkish forces in Cyprus are part of the Turkish Aegean Army which is headquartered at Izmir in Turkey. However, the commander of the Turkish troops reports directly to the Turkish General Staff in the capital, Ankara. The force is responsible for all security and is not directly involved in political matters of northern Cyprus.[6]

Since 16 August 1974, the Turkish Army has retained control of the northern 37% of Cyprus.

Military Personnel in Northern Cyprus[]

Map of Cyprus showing current political divisions

It is not possible to give an exactly accurate number of military personnel serving in northern Cyprus, due to conflicting public sources of information.

There are an estimated 30,000 regular troops of the Turkish Army serving in northern Cyprus at any given time are:

Equipment in Northern Cyprus[]

This is an estimate of the inventory of military equipment in northern Cyprus due to conflicting published sources.

Main Battle Tanks[]

  • M48A5T1 or T2 ~ 287 (Imported after 1974, these modernized M48 tanks replaced the older M48's. The M47's that were used during the war were withdrawn from service.
  • M48A5C - 9 Used in training.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles[]

  • AIFV / AAPC ~ 126 (Imported after 1995, among them are armed with the 25mm Sharpshooter configuration)

Armoured Personnel Carriers[]

  • M113A1 - 361
  • AIFV - 90 AAPC variants with 12,7mm or 7,62mm weapons.

Self Propelled Howitzers[]

  • M-110A2 - 12 203mm howitzers
  • M44T - 24 (Modernized with 155mm/L39 Rheinmetall howitzers and ASELSAN electronic systems.)
  • M52T - 36 (Modernized with 155mm/L39 Rheinmetall howitzers and ASELSAN electronic systems.)

Multiple Rocket Launchers[]

  • T-122 - eight 122mm MLRS(One battery covering the whole island with 40 km TRB series extended range rockets.)

Towed Howitzers[]

  • M-115 203 mm - 12
  • M-59 155 mm - 12
  • M-114A2 155 mm - 36
  • M-101A1 105 mm - 36

Anti-Tank Missiles[]

  • Kornet-E ~ 60
  • TOW ~ 36 (Imported in 1994)
  • MILAN ~ 48
  • M72 LAW Unknown number, produced in Turkey
  • RPG-7 Unknown number

Recoilless Rifles[]

  • M40A1 ~ 170


  • various calibers ~ 205
  • radar-assisted ~ 78

See also[]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website


  • Cyprus Mail, Thursday, November 19, 1998
  • Phileleftheros, Wednesday, November 18, 1998
  • Cyprus News Agency, October 8, 1998
  • Cyprus News Agency, November 21, 1997
  • Cyprus News Agency, October 27, 1997
  • The Military Balance 1996/97, The International Institute for Strategic Studies, London.
  • 2004 - 2005 Defence Bible (Stratigiki)
  • "Cyprus, 1974", by T. Cooper and N. Tselepidis, published October 28, 2003 for

External links[]

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