The 26th Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces, General İlker Başbuğ was born in Afyonkarahisar in 1943. He graduated from the Military Academy in 1962 and the Infantry School in 1963.
He served as Platoon Leader and Company Commander in various units subordinate to the Turkish Land Forces until 1971. Having graduated from the War College as staff officer in 1973, he held a wide variety of command and staff positions as Staff Officer at Plans and Operations Department at Turkish General Staff, Lecturer at the Army War College, Action Officer at the Intelligence Department at NATO Headquarters in Brussels-Belgium, Chief of Defense Research Branch of Plans and Policy Department at Turkish Land Forces Headquarters and as the Commander of the 247th Infantry Regiment, 51st Division.
Before being promoted to Brigadier General in 1989, he had completed his education at the United Kingdom Army Staff College and NATO Defense College. In this rank, he served as the Chief of Logistics and Infrastructure Department at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) in Mons-Belgium and as the Commander of the 1st Armored Brigade in Istanbul. He was promoted to Major General in 1993. As Major General, he served as the Deputy Commander in Gendarmerie Security Command in Diyarbakır-Turkey and then as the Turkish National Military Representative (NMR) at SHAPE and was promoted to Lieutenant General in 1996. In this rank, he served as the Commander of 2nd Corps and as the Deputy of the Secretary General of National Security Council. Thereafter, he was promoted to General in 2002. As General, he held a variety of positions such as the Chief of Staff of the Turkish Land Forces, the Deputy Chief of the Turkish General Staff, the Commandant of the Turkish 1st Army, the Commander of the Turkish Land Forces. He was appointed as Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) on August 30, 2008.
General İlker Başbuğ was awarded TAF Courage and Self-Sacrifice Medal, TAF Distinguished Service Medal, the Order of Distinction of Pakistan (Pakistani Nishan-ı Imtiaz), TAF Medal of Honor.
General İlker Başbuğ is married to Sevil Başbuğ with two children. He speaks English.