The Turks are an elite security force employed by the Shinra Electric Power Company and play an essential role in the story of Final Fantasy VII. They are a group that perform covert operations on behalf of Shinra, including kidnappings, espionage and assassinations. They also scout various cities for potential candidates for Shinra's elite military unit, SOLDIER. The Turks also served as bodyguards for the Shinra executives. The formal name for the Turks' organization is the Department of Administrative Research.
Over the course of Final Fantasy VII, the Turks Reno, Rude, Elena, and their leader Tseng serve as recurring antagonists, although they are not above forming temporary alliances with the protagonists and their affiliated group AVALANCHE. Initially, the Turks are charged with taking down AVALANCHE, whom Shinra deem a terrorist organization, but at times their interests cross and they see more benefit in working with their adversaries to accomplish mutually desired goals.
The Turks have served under two Shinra presidents. The original President Shinra, who viewed the acquisition of wealth as key, and his son Rufus, who seeks world domination through intimidation and power. Rufus's father considered his son's priorities and philosophy dangerous, and great care was taken to prevent them from influencing the company's inner workings until his death.
When Diamond Weapon destroys Shinra Headquarters, it appears as though Rufus dies in the attack, but he is later revealed to have survived in the film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Having survived, Rufus and the Turks wish to atone for the wrongs they have committed and work to undo the damage that they inflicted on the planet.
Though the Shinra company became bloated and corrupt over time, with the Turks serving as a means of intimidation and muscle, the The Turks are not an innately evil organization, and several of its notable members have had more benevolent goals and philosophies such as Cissnei and Vincent Valentine. In the mobile game Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, the Turks are depicted as the protagonists in a story that takes place over years predating the events of Final Fantasy VII. In this game, the group AVALANCHE are seen as the antagonists, as they are led by a figure whose goals are counter to the benevolent desires of the organization's later years.