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.
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. The first intelligence organization was established on August 05, 1914 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 Mondros Truce of October 30, 1918.
In the period that followed the Mondros 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 that organization had come to an end with the arrest of its members.
After the dissolution of the KARAKOL CEMIYETI, various intelligence groups were formed. 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 21, 1921, and continued its 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 the different intelligence organizations and countering the enemy's espionage activities and propaganda infiltrating the army ranks. Later, as a result of the need felt for a unit to collect information, "The Intelligence Branch" was formed. This organization, which had carried out successful missions during the war, was dissolved on March 19, 1921.
The vacuum that arose in the intelligence activities with the dissolution of the Askeri Polis Teskilaty, 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 between April 01, 1921- June 22, 1922. Later, in the light of the previous experiences and with the aim of reaching the newly established objectives, another intelligence group named MUDAFAA-I MILLIYE (National Defense) was founded, this time under the instructions of Mustafa Kemal. On May 03, 1921, the Turkish Grand National Assembly officially approved the establishment of that organization, which was called shortly as "MIM MIM"
While the TEDKIK HEYETI AMIRLIKLERI were carrying out their activities in Anatolia, the "MIM MIM" achieved to establish in Istanbul an extensive network of spies and intelligence consisting of a large cadre of military and civilian officers. The MIM MIM conducted very important duties during the National Liberation War, like organizing the activities to secretly transfer weapons and ammunitions to Anatolia, and infiltrating 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 war with other groups established to collect information about the enemy, was dissolved on October 05, 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 had been carried out until the year 1926 by the intelligence unit within the Turkish General Staff.
At the beginning of 1926, Ataturk had given the order for the establishment of a modern intelligence organization having the same standards with those in the developed countries. Colonel Oberst Walter Nikolai, a Polish originated officer who had guided Germany's intelligence activities during the World War I, was called on to undertake that duty. With the participation of the cadre that had been trained in European countries, and under the official order (January 06, 1927) 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- MAH (National Security Service).
REPUBLIC OF TURKEY|
GENERAL STAFF HEADQUARTERS
DEPARTMENT OF INTELLIGENCE
Nr : 10152
January 06, 1927
TO THE DIRECTORATE OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY SERVICE
The Organization of National Security has been established with its headquarters based in ANKARA, and its branches for the time being in the provinces of ISTANBUL, IZMIR, ADANA, DIYARBAKIR, and KARS. These provincial branches are directly subordinate to the General Headquarters.
The intelligence services previously being carried out by the Military Inspection bodies, will henceforth be run under the control of the Organization of National Security.
Chief of General Staff
Sukru Ali Ogel had been appointed as the first Director of 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.
MAH, which had undergone during its history some small-scale structural changes in consistent with the emerging needs, had successfully conducted Turkey's intelligence activities until the year 1965.
With a view to have the intelligence 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 the law 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 that would be subordinate only to the Prime Minister in the fulfillment of duties defined under the law.
The MIT, which has a modern structural organization and closely follows every kind of technological developments that would help the achievement of national objectives, and its experienced professional and technical staff is successfully fulfilling its duties defined under 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 prepared through a study of various books written about the war of national liberation, and some open sources. However, studies have already been started to prepare a much more detailed historical survey of our Organization, to be based on the documents kept in our own archives as well as the State archives. This historical study will be completed and released to the public opinion on the 75th Anniversary of the establishment of the MIT.