About Us // History of the Air War College

    Gaining its independent organization after the proclamation of the Republic, Turkish aviation was carried out for a while with the spirit of existing military education. The need of Air Force Commanders and Staff Officers has been tried to meet from those who have graduated from the War Colleges since its establishment. However, the development of aviation theory, techniques, tactics, and strategy in the world put forth the need to train aviation officers right from scratch. Understanding this need, Turkish Armed Forces decided to establish an educational institution in order to train Air Staff Officers.  

    Foundation and Progress of the Air War College

    In order to educate and train Staff Officers having the aviation notion, Air War College was established under the command of Turkish War Colleges at Yıldız Palace on 1 November 1937. During the first years when the Air War College was established, German academicians and teaching methods, which had been brought to our country gradually since 1880, constituted the training pattern of the War Colleges. However, these German faculty members returned to their countries on 1 September 1939 due to the start of the Second World War. Thereby, the period of domination of German teaching methods in the Turkish War Colleges ended. Turkish War Colleges Command benefited the services of British and American experts etween 1942 and 1953; and thus the German education system and the British education system were combined in practice during these years.

    Air War College after the Second World War

    Due to the Second World War, between 1941 and 1946 Air War College moved to Ankara and continued its activities. After the Second World War, the Turkish General Staff ordered the War Colleges to move back to Yıldız Palace in İstanbul and education and training activities resumed in Yıldız Palace on 13 November 1946.  

    Starting from 1947, Staff Officers were sent to the Command and Staff Officer Colleges in UK and the USA in order to become teachers in the Air War College upon their return to Türkiye, and this uninterruptedly continued until 1969. Meanwhile, some Staff Officers were also sent to France, Germany, Canada, Pakistani and even Iranian War Colleges.  

    The American Teaching Method and War Doctrines were adopted as of 1948. To this end, American expert officers who had experiences in the World War II were brought to the Service War Academies (Lecturers were dismissed in 1953 and US-Consultant groups were dismissed in 1963). Starting with 1948-1949 academic year, specialization courses in compliance with lessons learned from the Second World War appeared widely in the curriculums for the first grade student of the Service War Colleges. War Colleges started to educate and train Operation Staff Officer and Supply Staff Officer but this curriculum was abandoned after a period of two years.  

    Training between 1949 and 1954

    After the Second World War, under the influence of Americans, the American education method was introduced in the War College. The implementation of the three-year collection was started to carry out at two-year intervals, one year at a time. Graduates of the first year got their one-year promotion and went on to units and headquarters in order to do internship as assistant of staff officers. After two years of this internship, the officers had to succeed in the entrance exams in order to continue the second year of their three-years trainings. However, the second grade entrance exam was later removed and every officer who completed the first grade was given a second grade training. The staff officer diploma of those who successfully completed the second grade was certified after a year of internship at the General Staff and so they have a two-year promotion. The Joint War College was opened in 1954 and the third year of the three-year training was carried out as a five-and-half-month course as of 1954. In the last month of the course, the thesis assignment was given and those who submitted their thesis were given a seniority year for the fourth time during the three-year training. With the academic year of 1954-1955, Service War Colleges changed their education periods and started their continuous two-year education program, each year consisting of two terms. The Air War College provided education at the levels of Bases and Tactical Air Forces for its first grade students and at the levels of National and Joint Air Forces for its second grade students. The Turkish War Colleges started to move to their facilities in Yenilevent/İstanbul as of 24 August 1975 and the transfer ended on 12 September 1975. The Air War College initially resumed its education and training in the building of Naval War College. Upon the completion of its buildings and facilities, it moved to its own building on 8 September 1978.  


    The organizational structure mainly consists of the Assessment and Evaluation Section and the Department of Education and Training. When deemed necessary, the Academic Board and the Research and Examination Board are constituted. Of the three departments within the Department of Education and Training, the Department of Administrative Affairs was renamed as the Department of the Management in 2000; The Department of War History Strategy and General Culture renamed with the addition of the term “International Relations” to its title. In 2001, when the education and training of Command and Staff Officers Course started, Command and Staff Officer Course Section was added to the Department of Education and Training. The number of Lecturers was 19 and of appointed officers was 3 until 2001 and the number of appointed officers increased with the establishment of the Command and Staff Officer Course Section. The number of lecturers increased in 2003. The number of student officers in each grade was 33 in 1995 but this number was first increased to 40, then to 45, then to 52 in the following years and finally decreased to 48. Every year, International Officers whose numbers ranges between 10 to 20 receives education and each academic period there are 20 officers participating in Command and Staff Officer Course.  

    Within the scope of the restructuring of the Turkish military education system, the Turkish War Colleges Command was abrogated and Turkish National Defence University (TNDU) was established with the Decree Law numbered 669 and dated 31 July 2016. According to this regulation, which was then enacted by the Law Numbered 6756 and dated 9 November 2016, Service War Colleges were established in place of the former War Colleges. Cabinet Decree numbered 2016/9522 and dated 14 November 2016 established the academic units of the Turkish National Defence University (TNDU) and Army/Naval/Air War Colleges started their activities as subordinates to the TNDU.  

    With their renewed personnel and organizational structure within the TNDU organization, Army/Naval/Air War Colleges continues their education activities in Yenilevent/İSTANBUL campus of the university.