Istanbul, Turkish aircraft carrier in the Bosphorus

Turkey increased its military spending by 37% by 2023

Turkey increased its military spending by 37% in 2023 compared to the previous year, according to a report published this week by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which indicates that the Eurasian country’s defence spending reached $15.8 billion compared to the $10.6 billion budgeted in 2022. A trend that is in line with the increase in military spending globally and especially among NATO countries and Russia.

The report notes that in 2023 Turkey increased its position to 22nd globally for defence spending, which Ankara has increased by 59% between 2014 and 2023. Thus, last year Turkey spent 1.5% of its GDP on the military, compared to 1.15% in 2022. Globally, Turkey’s military spending accounted for 0.6% of the total spending in 2023, according to SIPRI.

In relation to NATO, European member states now account for 28% of the Atlantic Alliance’s total military budget, while Turkey and Canada account for around 4% of the total; the largest share, however, is still accounted for by the United States, whose spending on its armed forces accounts for ⅔ of NATO’s defence budget.

Turkey’s heavy investment in defence in recent years has led to a profound transformation not only of the Turkish Armed Forces, but also of its own defence industry, which has focused on reducing its foreign dependence by investing heavily in R&D, developing its own helicopters, drones, tanks, frigates, aircraft carriers, fighter jets

Whereas at the beginning of the 21st century Turkey depended 80% of its defence equipment on foreign sources, today this figure has been reduced to just 20%, to the point of having turned Turkey into an exporter of military equipment: currently more than 230 Turkish defence products are exported to some 170 countries, with Turkey’s military exports totalled a record 5.5 billion dollars in 2023.