Turkey plans to boost its military spending significantly next year, according to preliminary budget figures revealed this week.
Turkey is currently the world's 18th-largest military spender, with an estimated 2016 outlay of $14.8 billion, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Fact Sheet, which was released in April. SIPRI notes the figure is an estimate because, since the attempted military coup in July 2016, detailed data has become difficult to obtain.
But one fact is beyond dispute: The government is planning to meet an expected 30% increase in military defense expenditures by direct taxation of its citizens and a series of price hikes to be borne by the public.
The Finance Ministry gave parliament a draft 2018 budget Oct. 16 and expects to hand legislators the final proposal Oct. 25. Though education is to receive the largest chunk of the budget, Minister Naci Agbal told local media the huge hike in military spending reflects a "war economy." He cited "geopolitical risks and the budget increases these risks require."
He said that of about $7.2 billion in extra revenues to be derived from surcharges on vehicles, fuel, real estate and personal income taxes, about $2.3 billion will be directly allocated to the defense industry. Turkey is expecting a $5.2 billion increase in 2018 defense expenditures.
According to Agbal, in 2018 a supplementary $7.5 billion will be transferred to Turkey’s military/defense budget. Of this new funding, about $2.3 billion will be allotted to the Defense Industry Undersecretariat, which procures Turkey’s weapons systems and equipment. Moreover, the Defense Ministry budget will rise by 41% to $12 billion. The budget of the Interior Ministry will be augmented by 25%, the Gendarmerie Command budget will increase by 42%, while the national police budget will go up by 18% and the National Intelligence Service budget will get an additional 20%.
All told, about $26 billion will be spent on military defense expenditures, out of a total national budget of $195 billion. That amount is likely to put Turkey in SIPRI’s top 15 defense spenders in 2018. (end of excerpt)
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