Turkey’s insistence on war consumes the budget

The gap between the income of the citizens and the government’s military spending is growing in Turkey. Despite the increasing poverty and unemployment, the Turkish government's insistence on war, which consumes the budget, continues.

Despite its economic crisis, the Turkish state has been continuing its military attack against the Medya Defense Zones for days. What is cost of the drones and F-16s per hour including the cost of a missile they launch?

The Turkish army launched on April 23 night a large-scale invasion offensive on Metina, Avashin and Zap regions in the Medya Defense Zones in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq). According to the Press Office of the HPG (People’s Defense Forces), the Turkish army has been bombarding the mentioned territories say and night since the launch of its operation.

Turkish Central Bank head Şahap Kavcıoğlu talked about 128 billion dollars of lost reserves on April 24 right after the invasion attack started. He said, "Those UAVs and armed UAVs are not flying for free. Those soldiers are not going there for free”. It is not the first time that the heavy burden of the in Kurdistan and military expenditures on Turkey’s economy is admitted.

In February 2019, Turkish President Erdogan had said "Do you know the cost of a single bullet? Did you calculate how much money is spent while our helicopters are flying over to Gabar and Cudi?"


According to the data of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI); Turkey's military spending increased by 86 percent reaching $ 20.4 billion between 2010 and 2019. It further increased by 5.8 percent in 2018-2019. According to the SIPRI, Turkey ranks 15th among the states with the highest military spending in the world in 2019. In 2020, it ranked 16th with $ 17.7 billion. In a recent report of SIPRI, it was revealed that the military expenditures of the Turkish state, which increased by 77 percent in the period between 2011-2020, have risen acutely since 2015. The reason for this increase is the genocide policy and war carried out by the AKP-MHP-Ergenekon government against the Kurdish people since the summer of 2015.


What leads to an increase in war expenditures is the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) described as "cutting-edge technology" and "domestic and national", which the Turkish state has boasted of in recent years, and through which has committed numerous massacres in Kurdistan. It is not known exactly how much drone production costs for Turkey.

According to the pro-AKP press, $ 4 million is paid for an armed unmanned aerial vehicle (tr. SIHA) produced by the Baykar Machine Company, headed by Erdogan's son-in-law Selcuk Bayraktar. In November 2020 alone, 47 million dollars were paid for 12 "Bayraktar TB2 UAV" model aircraft.

The amount of money transferred to Erdogan's family through drone trade is a "state secret". Moreover, the Baykar Machine Company is exempted from the tax it has to pay to the state from the profit it makes out of these combat vehicles. In 2016 alone, it was revealed that the Baykar Machine Company was paid 36 million dollars for six UAVs.


According to experts' calculations, the daily cost of UAVs is close to that of F-16 fighter jets. Here is the average cost of missiles launched by aircraft and fuel they need per minute:

F-16 FIGHTER JETS: The F-16, which is frequently used by the Turkish army in air strikes against the Medya Defense Zones, consumes 600 liters fuel per minute. An hour flight costs 25 thousand dollars and a 24-hour non-stop flight costs 600 thousand dollars. The cost of the ammunition it carries each time is 65 thousand dollars.

F-4 FIGHTER JETS: F-4 2020s' one-hour flight costs 30 thousand dollars. The cost of each MK-82 type bomb fired by these jets is 26 thousand dollars.

UAVs: Unmanned aerial vehicles spend 6 thousand dollars of fuel just for reconnaissance purposes. When the cost of control centers is added, the cost of UAVs is close to an F-16. The price of a MAM-L missile fired by SIHAs is 40 thousand dollars.

COBRA HELICOPTERS: One-hour flight cost of Cobra type helicopters is around 6 thousand dollars.


It is enough to look at the announced cost of the four-hour attack on Medya Defense Zones in December 2007 to calculate how much the air strikes and reconnaissance flights, which have been going on in Avashin, Metina and Zap for more than two weeks, cost. According to the information provided by the AKP government at that time, the cost of an attack by 52 F-16 and F-4 aircraft with artillery support was $ 20 million.


Turkey's war and military expenditures, which increase every year, are provided from other budget items such as education, health, transportation-communication and energy. Turkey’s "defence spending" is above the average of both NATO member countries and other countries in general in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The gap between the income of Turkish citizens and military spending is ever-mounting.

According to economists, between 20 and 30 percent of external debt also stems from "defence spending". If the data of the Turkish Ministry of Treasury and Finance is examined, the mutually supportive rise of foreign debt and "defence spending" can be clearly seen.

Experts point out that a one percent increase in military spending increases foreign debt by 0.6 percent, while a one percent increase in defence spending reduces economic growth by about 0.1 percent. In short, each military investment the AKP-MHP government undertakes for war, each aircraft sent to the Medya Defense Zones, each missile fired into the mountains of Kurdistan further shrinks Turkey's economy and increases foreign debt.