Accounting for Danger: Retrospective Risk-Taking in the War on Terror

Cihan Aydiner, Muhammed Yildiz


On September 6th, 2015, after his personnel were ambushed and wounded by terrorists, Lieutenant Colonel Staff Officer İlker Çelikcan sacrificed himself to bring his soldiers to the military quarter. The event was extraordinary and unique in many aspects; it evoked great social reactions and elicited enormous emotional sensations, unity, and solidarity throughout the Turkish nation and the Turkish Army. After this rare event, two battalion commanders, Major Yavuz Sonat Güzel and Lieutenant Colonel İhsan Ejder died in action in a similar way to Çelikcan within the following 40 days of the incident. Using focus group technique and case study methodology, this research investigates Turkish mid-level military officers’ accounting for danger, risk-taking, and fighting propensities in the war on terror. By unpacking the mind-set of Çelikcan, this study aims to show the importance of personal, occupational, and cultural factors in military behavior.

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