Turkey (Turkiye) Military - 2023


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Military and security forces

Turkish Armed Forces (TSK): Turkish Land Forces (Turk Kara Kuvvetleri), Turkish Naval Forces (Turk Deniz Kuvvetleri; includes naval air and naval infantry), Turkish Air Forces (Turk Hava Kuvvetleri); Ministry of Interior: Gendarmerie of the Turkish Republic (aka Gendarmerie General Command), Turkish Coast Guard Command, National Police (2022)

note: the Gendarmerie (Jandarma) is responsible for the maintenance of the public order in areas that fall outside the jurisdiction of police forces (generally in rural areas); in wartime, the Gendarmerie and Coast Guard would be placed under the operational control of the Land Forces and Naval Forces, respectively

Military expenditures

1.3% of GDP (2023 est.)

1.4% of GDP (2022 est.)

1.6% of GDP (2021)

1.9% of GDP (2020)

1.9% of GDP (2019)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 445,000 active duty personnel (350,000 Army; 45,000 Navy; 50,000 Air Force); approximately 150,000 Gendarmerie (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory is mostly comprised of a mix of domestically produced and Western weapons systems, although in recent years, Turkey has also acquired some Chinese, Russian, and South Korean equipment; over the past decade, the US has been the leading provider of armaments to Turkey; other significant suppliers have included Germany, Italy, South Korea, and Spain; Turkey has a robust defense industry capable of producing a range of weapons systems for both export and internal use, including armored vehicles, naval vessels, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), although it is heavily dependent on Western technology; Turkey's defense industry also partners with other countries for defense production (2023)

Military service age and obligation

mandatory military service for men at age 20; service can be delayed if in university or in certain professions (researchers, professionals, and athletic, or those with artistic talents have the right to postpone military service until the age of 35); 6-12 months service; women may volunteer (2023)

note 1: in 2019, a new law cut the men’s mandatory military service period in half, as well as making paid military service permanent; with the new system, the period of conscription was reduced from 12 months to 6 months for privates and non-commissioned soldiers (the service term for reserve officers chosen among university or college graduates remained 12 months); after completing 6 months of service, if a conscripted soldier wants to and is suitable for extending his military service, he may do so for an additional 6 months in return for a monthly salary; under the new law, all male Turkish citizens over the age of 20 are required to undergo a 1 month military training period, but they can obtain an exemption from the remaining 5 months of their mandatory service by paying a fee

note 2:
as of 2019, women made up about 0.3% of the military's full-time personnel

Military deployments

approximately 150 (Azerbaijan; monitoring cease-fire, clearing mines); 250 Bosnia-Herzegovina (EUFOR); approximately 30,000 Cyprus; estimated 5,000 Iraq; 780 Kosovo (NATO/KFOR); 190 Lebanon (UNIFIL); estimated 500 Libya; up to 5,000 Qatar; approximately 200 Somalia (training mission); estimated 5,000-10,000 Syria (2022)

note 1: between 2016 and 2020, Turkey conducted four significant military ground campaigns in northern Syria with the stated purpose of securing its southern border; Turkey also has deployed troops into northern Iraq on numerous occasions to combat the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), including large operations involving thousands of troops in 2007, 2011, and 2018, and smaller-scale operations in 2021 and 2022; Turkey has also conducted numerous air strikes in both Iraq and Syria

note 2: in 2020, Turkey deployed hundreds of Turkish troops and as many as 5,000 Syrian fighters to Libya to support the Libyan Government of National Accord

Military - note

Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952 and hosts NATO's Land Forces Command in Izmir, as well as a NATO/US airbase at Incirlik and a NATO missile defense radar system in eastern Turkey

under a long-range (2033) strategic plan, the Turkish Armed Forces continues efforts to modernize its equipment and force structure; Turkish Land Forces are seeking to produce a 20-30% smaller, more highly trained force characterized by greater mobility and firepower and capable of joint and combined operations

the Turkish Navy is a regional naval power that seeks to develop the capability to project power beyond Turkey's coastal waters; it is planning to launch new frigates, submarines, and a light aircraft carrier/amphibious assault ship in the next few years, adding to its current force of about 16 frigates and 12 submarines; the Navy is heavily involved in NATO, multinational, and UN operations; its roles include control of territorial waters and security for sea lines of communications

the Turkish Air Force adopted an "Aerospace and Missile Defense Concept" in 2002 and is developing an integrated missile defense system; in a controversial move that complicated its relationship with NATO and the US, it purchased the Russian S-400 air defense system for an estimated $2.5 billion in 2019; Air Force priorities include attaining a modern deployable, survivable, and sustainable force structure, and establishing a sustainable command and control system

in recent years, Turkey has taken on a greater level of international peacekeeping responsibilities, including keeping a substantial force under NATO in Afghanistan until withdrawing in 2021; Turkey also has built expeditionary military bases in Qatar, Somalia, northern Cyprus, and Sudan

the military has a substantial stake in Turkey's economy through a holding company that is involved in the automotive, energy, finance, and logistics sectors, as well as iron and steel production (2023)

NOTE: The information regarding Turkey (Turkiye) on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Turkey (Turkiye) 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Turkey (Turkiye) 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.