World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkey’s defense spending stood at 29.4 billion Turkish Liras, or $13.2 billion, this year, Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz said Sunday.
He was responding to a question from an opposition party leader, the Nationalist Movement Party’s Ankara deputy Ozcan Yeniceri, who asked how much Turkey had spent on its defense budget since 2002.
Yilmaz said Turkey spent about 1.71 percent of its Gross Domestic Product, or the GDP on defense in 2014.
Turkey used to spend 3.5 percent of its GDP on defense in 2002.
The 2014 defense budget accounts for 3.7 percent of the overall state budget. About half of the country’s defense budget goes to personnel spending such as salaries, benefits and pension payments to retired Turkish Army personnel.
According to the minister, Turkey’s military expenditure per capita in 2013 was 474 Turkish Liras or $213.
He also said Turkey's defense exports stood at $1.4 billion in 2014, while its imports amounted to $1.3 billion.
Turkey's defense industry has gained momentum in recent years, which has seen an expansion of local manufacturers. Ankara spent over $1 billion on defense, research and development in 2013.
More local firms have been introducing new products to the market, contributing to Turkey's goal of relying more on domestic sources than imported products.
According to data from the Defense Industry Exporters' Union, Turkey's exports in the defense and aviation industries combined reached $1.39 billion in 2013.
The top export items were aircraft, helicopter parts, engines, armored-land vehicles, speed boats, missiles, rockets, launching platforms, light weapons and electronic systems, including transmitters, simulators, sensors and software.
Turkey is currently negotiating a $3.5 billion deal for a long-range air and anti-missile defense system, including local production, with suppliers from China and Europe.
Ankara plans to spend around $70 billion on military equipment until 2023, when the country will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey.
NATO requires its members such as Turkey to spend at least two percent of its GDP on defense, but several members struggle to meet the threshold.
In comparison, NATO’s European members spend a combined total of €180 billion on defense, which is second largest spending after the U.S., according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The institute said in April this year that Russian defense spending rose by 4.8 percent to $88 billion last year; China with $188 billion and Saudi Arabia with $67 billion were also among a list of countries that have increased arms spending, but overall the world military expenditure fell by 1.9 percent to $1.75 trillion in 2013.
Last Mod: 02 Kasım 2014, 22:53