Series: Armed Forces in the Middle East (Turkey)

Turkey ranks second in the list of the most powerful militaries in the Middle East. Here are some data.

$18.1 billion defense budget
410,500 active frontline personnel
3,657 tanks
989 aircraft

The Turkish Armed Forces is composed of a mix of conscript and professional soldiers. Conscription lasts up to a year, though it can be avoided by paying a fee. Turkey is a member of NATO, and it also contributes operational staff to the Eurocorps multinational army initiative. NATO has stationed Patriot missiles within the country as a defense against missile attacks from Syria.

Since 1998, Turkey has attempted to modernize its military, which has started production of a native next-generation tank. Turkey produces a lot of advanced defense technology in-country now, Megahan says: “We’re seeing more Turkish-made systems in the Turkish military, whereas before it was a lot of American equipment.”

Turkey is also committed to purchasing the F-35 fifth-generation fighter jet, and it produces a range of parts for the aircraft in an attempt to bolster its avionics industry. The country also fields a fleet of more than 200 F-16s.

The Turkish Armed Forces have not been involved in a traditional war since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. However, Turkey’s enormous and NATO-allied military has battled an asymmetric Kurdish separatist movement since the 1980s.

Key allies: The US, as well as dozens of European militaries — Turkey is the only NATO member in the region.

Source: Business Insider UK 2014

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