Hulusi Akar

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Hulusi Akar
Hulusi Akar (cropped, 2019).jpg
Akar in 2019
Minister of National Defense
Assumed office
10 July 2018
PresidentRecep Tayyip Erdoğan
Preceded byNurettin Canikli
29th Chief of the Turkish General Staff
In office
18 August 2015 – 10 July 2018
PresidentRecep Tayyip Erdoğan
Preceded byNecdet Özel
Succeeded byYaşar Güler
Personal details
Born (1952-03-12) 12 March 1952 (age 69)
Kayseri, Turkey
Political partyIndependent
Spouse(s)Şule Akar
AwardsSee below
Military service
Nickname(s)Seri Paşa
Allegiance Turkey
Branch/serviceTurkish Armed Forces
Years of service1973–2018[1]
RankTurkey-army-OF-9.svg General
CommandsChief of the General Staff
Commander of Land Forces
Deputy Chief of the General Staff
3rd Land Forces Corps
Land Forces Logistics Command
Land Forces General Staff College Command
Military Academy Command
Chief of Plans and Policy
Internal Security Brigade Command
Chief of Public Information
Battles/warsBosnian War
ISAF Coalition
Kosovo War
Turkey-PKK conflict
Turkey-ISIL conflict
Operation Shah Euphrates
Operation Euphrates Shield
Operation Olive Branch
Operation Peace Spring

Hulusi Akar (born 12 March 1952) is the current Turkish Minister of Defense and a former four-star Turkish Armed Forces general who served as the 29th Chief of the Turkish General Staff.[2] Akar also served as a brigade commander in various NATO engagements including the International Security Assistance Force against the Taliban insurgency, Operation Deliberate Force during the Bosnian War, the Kosovo Force during the Kosovo War, as well as overseeing much of the Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War.[3][4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Akar was born in 1952 in Kayseri, Turkey. He graduated from the Turkish Military Academy in 1972 and the Turkish Infantry School in 1973. In 1975 he attended Queen's University Belfast for postgraduate studies in International Diplomacy.

Military career[edit]

Akar served as a company commander, section chief and branch chief at various units and headquarters including the Turkish General Staff. He also served as an instructor at the Army Command and Staff College and was posted abroad as a staff officer in the intelligence division at Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSOUTH) from 1990-1993. From 1993 until 1994, he was the Military Assistant to the Land Forces Commander, and also served as the Chief Public Information Officer. Later on, he continued this assignment for the Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces from 1994–1997. He was subsequently posted as the Commander of the Turkish Brigade - Zenica/Bosnia from 1997 until 1998.

Upon his promotion to brigadier general in 1998, he commanded the Internal Security Brigade for two years, and then served as the Chief of Plans and Policy in AFSOUTH from 2000-2002. Following his promotion to major general in 2002, he assumed the command of the Military Academy for three years and was subsequently the Commander of the Army Command and Staff College for two years until 2007.

After his promotion to lieutenant general, he was the commander of Land Forces Logistics and then the Commander of the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps-Turkey and the 3rd Corps from 2009-2011. Subsequent to his promotion to the rank of general in 2011, he served as the Deputy Chief of the Turkish General Staff from 2011 until 2013, and the Commander of the Turkish Land Forces from 2013 until 2015.

On 2 August 2015, General Akar was appointed as the 29th Chief of the General Staff and took up the position on 18 August 2015.

Chief of General Staff[edit]

Akar was taken hostage on 15 July 2016 during the Turkish Armed Forces' 2016 attempted coup d'état against the Turkish government, by those responsible for leading the attempted coup.[6] According to The Economist, Akar "was told by his aides to sign a declaration of martial law (sıkıyönetim). When he refused, they tightened a belt around his neck, but he would not yield."[7] He was held hostage at Akıncı Air Base (now Mürted Airfield Command) in Ankara before pro-government forces retook control of the air base and rescued him in the early hours of 16 July 2016.[8]

The rescue was announced at 02:45 EEST on 16 July 2016 by Anadolu Agency, although CNN Türk placed the time of rescue attempt around 07:45 EEST.[9][10] First Army commander General Ümit Dündar served as Acting Chief of General Staff during Akar's capture.[11] After his release he testified that one of his captors offered to put him on the phone with alleged coup figurehead Fethullah Gülen.[12]

In 2016 Akar led Operation Euphrates Shield, the Turkish military intervention in Syria against the jihadist group ISIL, the Syrian Democratic Forces, and various Kurdish groups (SDF and Kurdish groups are also fighting ISIL).[13]

Dunford, Hulusi Akar and Valery Gerasimov are discussing their nations' operations in northern Syria, March 2017
Gerasimov (right), Joseph Dunford (left) and Hulusi Akar (middle) at a meeting to discuss their nations’ operations in northern Syria, 6 March 2017

As Defense Minister[edit]

On July 9, 2018 Akar was appointed by Turkey's President Erdogan as the Minister for National Defense. This was the first time in Turkey's history that a civilian government appointed an active duty military officer to this position.[14]

In July 2020, reacting to the 2020 Armenian–Azerbaijani clashes, Akar said: "We will continue to stand with the Azerbaijani armed forces and provide support to our Azerbaijani brothers against Armenia, which continues its aggressive approach."[15]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Akar has been awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, TAF Medal of Honor, TAF Medal of Distinguished Courage and Self-Sacrifice, TAF Medal of Distinguished Service, Legion of Merit, Order of National Security Merit of South Korea, and the Azerbaijan Distinguished Service in Military Cooperation.

Personal life[edit]

Akar is married to Şule, with whom he has two children. He is fluent in English and Italian.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ UĞUROĞLU, Orhan. "Tutanaklara geçen kapışma". Yeniçağ. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Yeni Genelkurmay Başkanı Hulusi Akar oldu (Hulusi Akar kimdir?)" [Who is our new Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar?]. Haber Türk (in Turkish). Istanbul. 16 July 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Yeni Genelkurmay Başkanı Hulusi Akar kimdir?". Milliyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  4. ^ Ergan, Uğur (5 August 2015). "Yeni Genelkurmay Başkanı Hulusi Akar oldu (Hulusi Akar kimdir?)". Hürriyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Orgeneral Hulusi Akar bu mesajla göreve başladı". Habertürk (in Turkish). 19 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Turkey coup: military attempt to seize power from Erdogan as low flying jets and gunfire heard in Ankara and bridges across Bosphorus in Istanbul closed". The Telegraph. London. 15 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  7. ^ "After the coup, the counter-coup: The failed putsch was the bloodiest Turkey has seen; the backlash is as worrying". The Economist. 23 July 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Turkey's Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar rescued from pro-coup soldiers". Daily Sabah. Istanbul. 16 July 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Genelkurmay Başkanı Akar kurtarıldı". Posta (in Turkish). Istanbul. 16 July 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Genelkurmay Başkanı Akar kurtarıldı". CNN Türk (in Turkish). Istanbul. 15–16 July 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Orgeneral Akar kurtarıldı". Al Jazeera Türk (in Turkish). Istanbul. 16 July 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Most Turks believe a secretive Muslim sect was behind the failed coup". The Economist. 28 July 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  13. ^ "The head of the Turkish General staff said the army its goals in Syria - FreeNews English -". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  14. ^ Bekdil, Burak Ege. "Erdogan appoints active duty military commander as Turkey's defense minister". Defense News. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Armenian armed aggression against Azerbaijan, Turkey stands with Azerbaijan". The Eastern Herald. 16 July 2020.
  16. ^ "T.C.CUMHURBAŞKANLIĞI : Hulusi AKAR". (in Turkish). Retrieved 13 November 2020.
Military offices
Preceded by
Hayri Kıvrıkoğlu
Commander of the Turkish Army
23 August 2013 – 18 August 2015
Succeeded by
Salih Zeki Çolak
Preceded by
Necdet Özel
Chief of the General Staff of Turkey
18 August 2015 – 10 July 2018
Succeeded by
Yaşar Güler
Political offices
Preceded by
İsmet Yılmaz
Minister of National Defence
10 July 2018–present
Succeeded by