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Chief of Defence of Turkey
General Hilmi Özkök
2002 - 2006
General Hilmi ÖZKÖK became the 24th Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces on 28 August 2002 for a four-year term. He also serves as Chief of the Turkish General Staff. According to the Turkish Constitution, he is responsible to the Prime Minister; in peacetime, he serves as the Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces. In time of war, he assumes the “Commander in Chief” authority on behalf of the President.
General Hilmi ÖZKÖK was born in Turgutlu, Manisa in 1940. After completing his High School Education at Isiklar Military High School in 1957, he graduated from the Turkish Military Academy in 1959 as an Artillery 3rd Lieutenant, and subsequently from the Artillery Officers’ Basic Course of the Field Artillery School in 1961.
After serving at various units of the Turkish Armed Forces as a Platoon Leader and an Anti-Aircraft Battery Commander, he graduated from the Army War College in 1972 and from NATO Defense College in 1975.
He served as the Chief Of Operations and Training Branch at the 15th Training Brigade, as a Staff Officer at Land Southeast Special Weapons Branch, as a High Level Staff Officer at the Plan and Policy Department of Shape, as the Chief of Defense at the Research Section of Plan and Policy Department Of The Turkish Army Headquarters, as the Director of Executive Office of the Secretary General of National Security Council and as the Commander of the Cadet Regiment at the Turkish Military Academy.
He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in 1984. From 1984 to 1986, he served as the Chief of Planning and Operations Department of the Turkish General Staff. In 1986, he was assigned as the Commander of the 70th Infantry Brigade for a period of two years.
He was promoted to the rank of Major General in 1988 and assigned as the Commander of the 28th Infantry Division, where he served until 1990. From 1990 to 1992, he served as the Chief of Personnel Department of the Turkish General Staff (TGS).
In 1992, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General. Between 1992 and 1995, he served as the Chief of the Turkish Military Delegation at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. From 1995 to 1996, he served as the Commander of the 7th Corps.
On 30 August 1996, he was promoted to the rank of General and assumed the Command of the Allied Land Forces South-Eastern Europe (Comlandsoutheast), where he served until 1998. Between 1998 and 1999, he was assigned as the Deputy Chief of the Turkish General Staff and then he served as the 1st Army Commander between 1999 and 2000. After that, he was appointed as the Commander of the Turkish Army in 2000.
General ÖZKÖK has been awarded; Turkish Armed Forces Medal of Honor, Turkish Armed Forces Medal of Distinguished Service, Medal of Distinguished Courage and Self-Sacrifice, USA Legion Of Merit, Pakistani Medal of Nishan-I Imtiaz, the Great Cross for Military Merit of Spain and Republic of Korea Tong-Il Medal.
General ÖZKÖK is married to Mrs. Özenç ÖZKÖK, speaks English and has two children.