Security Environment and Military Spending of Turkey in the 2000s
A significant change in Turkey’s foreign policy came with an active engagement in regional issues that, in turn, produced more risks, new areas of interest, regional policy arrangements, and different security challenges in the 2000s. In this vein, Turkey’s military spending has increased to sustain its active policy behavior and goals, both regionally and globally. This article examines Turkey’s military spending between 2000 and 2018 by using Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Military Expenditure Database and its effects on bilateral and regional relations. It argues that the increase in Turkey’s military spending in the 2000s can be explained not only by diversified security threats but also by the quest for autonomy, the desire to be a regional actor, economic capacity increase, efforts to nationalize the defense industry, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance’s inability to form a sufficient umbrella time in the face of security threats, notably in the face of missile threats. The results show that the traditional alliances and strategic cooperation do not guarantee Turkey’s military demands, and its military spending increases, while the proportion of military spending in GDP falls, due to economic growth.
Keywords: Turkey, military spending, security, procurement, economic sanctions