Turkish Armed Forces Mehteran Unit
Lieutenant Colonel Murat İçlİ, Head of the Band.
The Turkish Armed Forces Mehteran Unit was established in 1289 for Osman Gazi, the founder of the Ottoman Empire. The band is currently part of the Command of Military Museums under the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Turkey.
Mehter music is a symbol of sovereignty and independence of the state. Its melodies have empowered soldiers with strength and courage, encouraging the Ottoman Army to achieve great victories, and the thundering of big kös drums has managed to unnerve enemies during the heat of battle.
The band consists mostly of traditional Turkish instruments — national counterparts of big and small kettle drums, drums, oboes, bugles and dulcimers. They are played with a çevgen — a stick with a chain of bells attached to the top. The Band consists of six groups with three sections of drummers, two wind sections and one string section. The size and magnificence of the Mehter Unit is measured in terms of the number of instruments in each section. The smallest one consists of one player for an instrument of each section, while the main team has up to 10 musicians, and the expanded section — up to 12.
The band regularly goes on tour, performing at various concert venues all around the world. It also participates in national celebrations and international festivals.