THE COSTS OF A WAR AGAINST KURDS / Statistical Report: Terrorism causes record increase in security expenditure

10 August 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN, ISTANBUL – The ongoing fight against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a war for autonomy in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984, led to a surge in security spending in the beginning of the year and has negatively affected the government’s budget planning.

According to statistical data released by the Ministry of Finance, the spending on salaries of defense and security personnel increased in first half of this year over the previous year, the Akşam daily reported on Thursday. Compared to the first six months of last year, TL 50 million more was spent this year.In addition, there was an increase in the discretionary fund, which helps meet part of the costs of services of some state institutions that deal with security matters, from TL 296 million to TL 431 million in first of half of 2012, or an increase of TL 135 million. The discretionary fund is mostly used for unbudgeted spending in security issues.Added to that, the expenditure on military equipment increased approximately eight times. While TL 15.3 million was spent on ammunition in the first six months of last year, the government spent TL 122.8 million in the same period this year.

Another increase was seen in the budget for intelligence service agents; TL 265.2 million was paid to National Intelligence Organization (MİT) personnel for their services to date this year, a TL 48.7 million increase in spending for intelligence gathering compared to the TL 216.5 million expenditure in the same period last year.

In addition, the amount spent on purchasing new military equipment and services in the first half of 2012 was TL 732.7 million. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) spent TL 682 million on its personnel in first six months of last year. With regards to the procurement of new military matériel, equipment and vehicles, the TSK spent TL 317.2 million between January and June of last year. However, the amount fell to TL 202 million for the same period this year. There was also an increase in spending for the modernization of some military equipment as part of the defense expenditure.