Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms

WW1 OTTOMAN MILITARY POLICE

Imperial Court Security Officers

Right - A 'Star and Crescent' type gorget, similar to the 18th century version, for security officials at the Imperial Court [1].

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[1] Metin Erüretin. (2001) Osmanli Madalyalari ve Nisanlari. [Ottoman medals and orders: documented history]. DMC: 155.

Kunun, Kunan, or Kauun (Law Soldiers)

Right - A "Kunan" or “Kauun” (Law Soldiers).

  • Represented the Sharia law, and while ordinary enlisted men held an unusually high status in the Ottoman military, and period sources say: “They are a much more respectable force than the civil police or the gendarmes” [1].
  • Somewhat incorrectly, the ‘Law Soldiers’ are described as Military Police in most sources. The large brass gorgets the ‘Law Soldiers’ wear are called a “Ferahi”, and have with the word inscribed "Kunun", or "Kunan" or “Kauun”, meaning the law.
  • Some versions were also inscribed with the words – “Kanun Neferi”, meaning law soldier.
  • The insignia has its origins in the Ottoman court of the 18th Century, and was worn by the Sultan’s security personnel for his court; thus they too act as adjutants to the Sultan, enforcing his laws [2].

The ‘Law Soldiers’ had a right to wear the Aiguillette for an Aides-De-Camp to the Sultan, and this reflected their particular function. 

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[1] British General Staff. (1995) 1916 Handbook of the Turkish Army. Battery Press, Nashville: 105.

[2] Metin Erüretin. (2001) Osmanli Madalyalari ve Nisanlari. [Ottoman medals and orders: documented history]. DMC: 155.

Imperial Army Police Units

Right - WW1 Imperial Army Police: who wear a gorget with the Ottoman script words "inzibat-ı askeri memuru" (military police official) written on it.

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Ottoman Military Law and Penal Units

Right - This New York Times article With the Sultan's Army in Asiatic Turkey (1906) contains information on the Ottoman Army penal units. These were soldiers under punishment by wearing fez with the tassel cut-off.

Below - extracted from British General Staff. (1995) 1916 Handbook of the Turkish Army. Battery Press, Nashville: 133, describes the military law system in the WW1 Ottoman Imperial Army, and confirms the existence of soldiers under sentence being transported, and given "additional service", such as transport into a penal labour unit.

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