Turner replaces Geep Chryst, who was fired after two years on the job under coach Mike Riley.
Turner, who signed a four-year contract, takes over the NFL's 28th-ranked offense, one that generated no running game and committed a league-high 50 turnovers en route to a 1-15 record this season.
Turner, 48, was fired by the Redskins on Dec. 4 one day after the most expensive team in NFL history lost, 9-7, to the New York Giants for its fourth loss in five games.
Turner's Redskins teams were 49-59-1 in six-plus seasons, and made the playoffs only once, in 1999.
Expectations were high in Washington after owner Daniel Snyder signed, among others, Deion Sanders, Jeff George, Mark Carrier and Bruce Smith in the offseason. But the Redskins finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs. They were 7-6 when Turner was fired.
Turner built his reputation as an offensive expert during three years as offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys from 1991-93 under Jimmy Johnson. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl in each of Turner's last two years with them.
Turner helped turn around a Cowboys team that finished 7-9 and ranked 28th offensively in 1990.
Turner's hiring was the second major move by the Chargers in less than a week; they introduced John Butler as their new executive vice president and general manager last Friday.
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