The defense is based on NATO membership. After the fall
of the Wall in 1989 and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact,
Turkey has undertaken a comprehensive reorganization aimed,
in part, to bring all the forces into NATO's new structure
and to deal with the strategic problems in Turkey and its
vicinity. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that TUR stands for Turkey.
The defense has a general military duty with an initial
service of 18 months and (2006) comprises 515,000 men. The
army comprises 402,000 men, 660,000 fully staffed, and is
transformed into a brigade structure with, among other
things, 32 mechanized brigades with modern tanks (Leopard
I). The navy comprises about 48,000 men, 103,000 fully
manned, and disposes of 11 submarines, 24 larger and 55
smaller battleships, 8 landing craft, 1 naval infantry
regiment and 15 armed helicopters. The Air Force comprises
29,000 men, 125,000 fully manned, with 445 fighter aircraft,
of which 225 are US F-16s and 135 F-4s. The equipment is
modern. The armed opposition, including PKK, disposes of
4,000-5,000 men. Armistice has existed since 2004. Since
1974, Turkey has 36,000 people stationed in Cyprus. Defense
spending nationally in 1985-2006 fell from 4.5 to 3% of GDP.
The United States has aviation associations and marine
support resources based in Turkey, which since 1996 also
lends air bases to Israel for training. Turkey participates
in the UN peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan (ISAF), Bosnia
and Herzegovina (EUFOR), Georgia, Montenegro, Serbia (KFOR)
Turkey's defense overview
Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952. The country
has been conscripted with first-time service for 12 months.
The total number of armed forces of Turkey is 355,200 active
personnel, with a reserve of 378,700 personnel (2018, IISS).
The semi-military gendarmerie has a strength of 152 100
The United States has aircraft, drones, radar and
personnel stationed in the country. In 2013, the US, the
Netherlands and Germany deployed Patriot batteries in Turkey
in 2013 (Active Fence) due to the war in Syria, in
2018 Italy and Spain had air defense batteries in Turkey.
Saudi Arabia had six fighter aircraft deployed in Turkey (Inherent
Resolve) in 2018.
In 2018, Turkey had a strength of about 33,800 personnel
The army has a personnel force of about 260,200 active
personnel, including conscripts. Heavy materials include
2379 tanks (316 Leopard 2, 397 Leopard 1, 916 M60 and 750
M48), 645 storm tanks and 4336 armored personnel vehicles.
In addition, the Army has 330 helicopters, of which 77
combat helicopters (39 Cobra and 38 T129), five
reconnaissance aircraft, 57 light aircraft and lightweight,
medium and heavy drones.
The Air Force has a personnel force of about 50,000
active personnel. Materials include 27 fighters of a F-5
FreedomFighter, 281 combat aircraft (20 F-4 Phantom II, 260
F-16 and one F-35 Lightning II), five reconnaissance
aircraft, seven tanker of a KC-135 Stratotanker, 88
transport aircraft, 49 light aircraft, 168 training
aircraft, 35 helicopters and 29 medium and heavy drones.
The Navy has a combined personnel force of about 45,000
active personnel, including conscripts (including 3,000
Marines). The fleet includes 12 tactical submarines, 19
frigates, six corvettes, 46 patrol vessels, 15 minesweepers,
30 landings and 35 logistics and auxiliary vessels. The Navy
also has six patrol aircraft, seven light aircraft and 29
The Coast Guard has a force of 4700 personnel, 104 patrol
boats, three martime patrol aircraft and eight helicopters.
In 2018, Turkey participated in NATO operations in
Afghanistan (Operation Resolute Support) with 506
personnel, in the Mediterranean with a frigate (SNMG2), in
the Black Sea with a mine sweeper (SNMCMG2) and in Kosovo
(KFOR) with 291 personnel.
In addition, Turkey participated in the UN operation in
Lebanon (UNIFIL) with 86 personnel, and in the EU operation
in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR) with 249 personnel.
Turkey has forces in Iraq (2000 personnel) and in Syria
(about 5000 personnel).
At the beginning of June 2016, the German parliament, by
overwhelming majority, approved the genocide of the Ottoman
Empire at 2 million. Armenians in 2015-16 were indeed a
genocide. The decision triggered a diplomatic crisis between
the two countries and Turkey withdrew its ambassador. At the
same time, Turkey announced that German politicians were no
longer welcome in Turkey. They had routinely visited German
soldiers posted to NATO on rocket bases in Turkey. In
response, Germany declared it would withdraw its Patriot
missiles and the soldiers serving them home from the bases
Military coup attempt? Islamist AKP coup!
This spring, the AKP government announced further purges
within the officer corps in August. In one last desperate
attempt to avoid purges, a minor part of the military tried
in July to carry out military coups, but the coup attempt
was amateurish. The military took control of the state TV
station, Istanbul airport and the Bosphorus bridge, but
failed to take control of the digital communication. The
dictator Erdogan could therefore, via Twitter, urge his
followers to walk on the streets to prevent the coup. Right
from the start of the coup, the prime minister and dictator
placed responsibility for the coup on the fugitive Fethullah
Gülen. However, a statement that contradicted the declared
intentions of the coup makers to defend Turkey as a secular
state. The statement in turn indicated, that the dictator
intended to use the coup attempt to exterminate many more of
his political opponents and tighten his power over the
country. The purges were started already on the day the coup
was struck. Over 2,800 officers were arrested and all of the
country's 2,700 judges were fired, while arrest warrants
were issued for 180 staff and high court judges. (Turkey was
already undergoing a slow-motion coup - by Erdoğan, not the
army, Guardian 16/7 2016; Aftermath of Turkey coup
attempt will be bloody and repressive, Guardian
Erdogan then demanded Fethullah Gülen extradited from the
US where he was in exile, and to emphasize the claim, Turkey
immediately terminated the US right to use the Incirlik
airbase in southeastern Turkey. The base played the key role
in the US's attack on IS in Iraq and Syria, causing these
attacks to stop. The United States did not have any aircraft
carriers in the area that could be used for IS attacks, and
Erdogan's Islamic State also allowed the military and
economically needed IS a much needed respite.
The post-coup assessment was that Erdogan would study the
polls to conduct parliamentary elections when and if the
Kurdish HDP got below 10% of the vote, thus securing power
in parliament to arbitrarily change the constitution. He had
already removed their parliamentary immunity in order to
bring them to trial.
Erdogan's Islamist coup continued in the days after the
military coup attempt had fallen apart. After 5 days, the
number of arrested officers was up to 7,000. There were far
more people than had participated in the coup attempt and
the impression that Erdogan was conducting the final
settlement with the military. Five days after the military
coup attempt, the president began to focus his Islamist coup
on public servants. Initially, 24,000 public servants were
fired. The Ministry of Education fired 15,200 teachers, the
Interior Ministry fired 8,777 and the Council of Higher
Education fired 1,577 university teachers. Not even the
prime minister's office passed by. Here 257 employees were
fired. At the same time, the AKP's thugs continued to house
in the streets. The president urged them to stay on the
streets in order to intimidate the opposition. (After
Turkey's failed coup, Erdoğan's brutal clampdown,
Guardian 18/7 2016; Turkey sacks 15,000 education
workers in purge, Guardian 19/7 2016).
A few days into the Islamist coup, Erdogan put the
country into a 3-month state of emergency and at the same
time suspended the country's accession to the European
Convention on Human Rights. The right to life, to freedom of
expression, to work and to housing were thus put into
effect. Parliament was run out on a sideline and Erdogan
began to rule through decrees. At the same time, AKP gangs
continued to ravage Turkey's cities. And not just in Turkey.
Erdogan also urged the AKP gangs to walk in the streets of
European cities. In Vienna, the gangs attacked, among other
things. Kurdish restaurants, which led to the Turkish
ambassador being summoned to ski ball in the Austrian
Foreign Ministry. Meanwhile, Erdogan continued purges within
the military and public administration.
At the end of July, Erdogan ordered 1,043 private
schools, 1,229 associations, 35 medical institutions, 19
unions and 15 universities closed. The closed associations
and institutions got their property and funds confiscated by
the Turkish state. He also ordered 42 journalists fired. The
most prominent of these was Nazli Ilicak, who was fired for
the first time in 2013 from the rich metro daily Sabah
after he wrote about the ministers' involvement in a
corruption scandal. (Turkey's president orders closure of
1,000 private schools linked to Gülen, Guardian
23/7 2016), (Turkey targets media in new crackdown after
coup, Daily Star 25/7 2016).