Skip to content

Türkiye set to surpass France in NATO defense spending

Türkiye set to surpass France in NATO defense spending President Tayyip Erdogan holds a news conference during the NATO summit at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium June 14, 2021. (Reuters)
By Yagiz Efe Parmaksiz
Jun 20, 2024 12:46 AM

Türkiye is projected to surpass France in defense expenditure as a percentage of GDP by the end of 2024, according to recent data published by NATO. This development marks a significant shift in the defense spending landscape within the alliance.

NATO’s latest report, based on data from member countries’ Ministries of Defence and economic information from the European Commission and OECD, highlights that Türkiye’s defense expenditure is estimated to reach 2.09% of its GDP in 2024. This is a notable increase from 1.50% in 2023. In contrast, France’s defense spending is expected to be 2.06% of its GDP in 2024, up slightly from 1.96% in 2023.

Türkiye set to surpass France in NATO defense spending
An infographic compares defense spending of NATO nations from 2014 and their expected spenditure in 2024, released on June 17, 2024. (Photo by NATO)

The increase in Türkiye’s defense budget aligns with broader trends of heightened military spending among NATO members. This is partly driven by the alliance’s ongoing commitment to collective defense amidst rising global security challenges.

The report clarifies that NATO’s figures may differ from national budgets due to varying definitions and sources. It encompasses expenditures on major equipment, research and development, and personnel, including pensions for retirees.

Türkiye’s enhanced spending reflects its strategic priorities and regional security considerations. The country has been modernizing its armed forces and investing in domestic defense industries to reduce dependency on foreign arms.

Turkish defense industry has garnered global attention due to the proliferation of unmanned vehicles, particularly with the Bayraktar TB3 UAV, which set a new altitude record.

These advancements have showcased Türkiye’s technological capabilities and have been pivotal in significant events such as locating the crash site of Raisi’s helicopter.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has consistently urged member states to meet the defense spending target of 2% of GDP. The data shows that several countries are moving towards or surpassing this benchmark. Poland, for instance, is expected to allocate 4.12% of its GDP to defense in 2024, the highest among European NATO members.

The overall defense expenditure for NATO Europe and Canada is projected to be 2.02% of GDP in 2024, while the total for the alliance, including the United States, is anticipated to be 2.71%.

These developments underline the evolving dynamics within NATO, as countries respond to both internal and external security pressures. Türkiye’s increasing defense budget not only enhances its military capabilities but also contributes to the collective strength of the alliance.

Last Updated:  Jun 20, 2024 8:08 AM