Turkiye to Lead KFOR for one Year
The Kosovo Force (KFOR) was established in Kosovo in June 1999 to build peace and stability in the area. NATO has established KFOR under the authority of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244.
KFOR focuses on building a secure environment and guaranteeing the freedom of movement through all Kosovo territory for all citizens, irrespective of their ethnic origins, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244. KFOR is gradually transferring responsibilities to the Kosovo Police and other local authorities. Currently, 27 states contribute to the KFOR, with a combined strength of approximately 4,500 military and civilian personnel.
KFOR is mostly led by Italia. 26 commanders have commanded the KFOR since its establishment in 1999; 12 of the commanders were Italian, while Germany is second with seven commanders. Turkiye will lead the unit for the first time since its establishment.
The handover of command to Turkiye coincidences with an important term in the history of Kosovo. Serbs protested the most recent local elections in spring and lost the municipalities even though they formed the majority in cities. At the beginning of summer, the protests returned to violence, in which 30 NATO peacekeepers were injured. Answering NATO’s request, Turkiye sent its commandos from the 65th mechanised brigade to KFOR as a reserve force.
Defence sources stated that Turkiye would start leading KFOR. Answering TurDef’s questions about timing, Defence ministry sources said, “We will take over in October for one year.“ Regarding whether the 65th Mechanized Infantry Brigade battalion, which went to the region as part of the NATO mission after the recent events in Kosovo, will return, the sources said, "The planned date for the return of our battalion there is the beginning of September. Unless a different decision is taken, our battalion will return at the beginning of September.”