The Efe were leaders of Turkish outlaws and soldiers in the Aegean (Western) region of Anatolia, coming at the top of the hierarchy of efe, zeybek and kızan. There are many theories about the origins of the word "Efe".

The organization of Efe and Zeybek were first seen in the 16th century during the Jelali Revolts which dismantled power throughout the Ottoman Empire. After that time, men who rebelled against local pressures and injustices and settled in the mountains were called "Efe" or "Zeybek". The Efe were distinctive in their attire, weapons and general appearance, which were created for survival and to best suit the life of an Efe. For example, they wore shorter trousers than were common at the time, and a yataghan with only one side with a sharpened point which was useful in mêlée combat.

Efes served voluntarily together with military troops in the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922). They fought against invading Greek troops and helped the national army in the Turkish War of Independence. After the declaration of the Republic, Efe groups were awarded with The Medallion of Independence for their participation in the war. Most Efe leaders received military ranks and pensions for their services. When they retired after the foundation of the new Turkish Republic in 1923, they no longer stayed in the mountains as outlaws but lived in cities as civilized citizens.

The most widely known Efes are Yörük Ali Efe, Demirci Mehmet Efe, Kıllıoğlu Hüseyin Efe, Postlu Mestan Efe, Atçalı Kel Mehmet Efe, Molla Ahmet Efe, Saçlı Efe, Gökçen Huseyin Efe, and Çakırcalı Mehmet Efe.

See also

* Zeybek
* Atçalı Kel Mehmet Efe
* Çakırcalı Mehmet Efe
* Yörük Ali Efe
* Demirci Mehmet Efe


* [http://vlib.iue.it/carrie/texts/carrie_books/paksoy-11/paksoy_lectures-on-central-asia.pdf Views of the "outlaw concept" in comparative perspective: "The American West" and the "Zeybeks" in the Turk lands] : Lectures on Central Asia, H.B. Paksoy

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