Military


Turkmenistan Military Spending

Turkmenistan is considered the third most powerful country in Central Asia. The state has a defense budget of $ 200 million - the third in the region after Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. But 744 kilometers of the common border with troubled Afghanistan are forcing Ashgabat to tirelessly strengthen military and national security.

Information on defense spending in Turkmenistan is sparse. The 2012 defence budget is estimated to be 210 million dollars, according to SIPRI. On December 12, 1995, the UN General Assembly recognized Turkmenistan's status of permanent neutrality, something of an amorphous distinction. In Ashgabat's view, permanent neutrality legitimized policies that sealed off the country from the outside world. Revenues from Turkmenistan's sales of natural gas (the country has the world's fourth-largest gas reserves) enabled the government to isolate the country and still provide for domestic needs.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Turkmenistan inherited the largest armed force in Central Asia. However, since that time neutrality and isolationism have dominated Turkmenistan’s defense doctrine, and the armed forces have been neglected. In the early 2000s, Turkmenistan made significant increases in annual defense expenditures. Between 2003 and 2005, the defense budget increased from US$83 million to US$173 million. The military budget in 1995 was estimated to be US$61 million.

Turkmenistan does not have its own military-industrial complex and this is different from Kazakhstan, which is successfully developing cooperation with leading foreign (primarily Russian) companies for the production, repair and modernization of modern weapons. Ashgabat strengthens the combat potential through the import of weapons and military equipment.

Ashgabat purchases weapons and military equipment from Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania. Against this background, military-technical cooperation with the CIS countries cannot be called dominant, and yet in the past decade, Ashgabat received 10 T-90S tanks worth $ 16 million, two Mi-17-1-1 helicopters for 22 million, six MLRS through the Rosoboronexport line "Smerch" for 70 million, eight infantry fighting vehicles and more than 1,000 KamAZ trucks with a total value of about $ 100 million. In addition, the Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard in 2011 built two missile boats for Project 12418 Lightning for Turkmenistan worth $ 170 million for Turkmenistan.

Arms and military equipment Ashgabat is actively supplied by Belarusian enterprises. In Turkmenistan, the assembly of Belarusian drone “Busel-M”, developed by specialists of the Scientific and Production Center “BAK and Technologies”, has been established. The Russian-Belarusian company Defensive Systems completed the modernization of the S-125M anti-aircraft missile system to the Pechora-2M level.

According to SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), Ashgabat has become the largest importer of Turkish weapons in recent years: 36 percent of Turkmenistan’s weapons imported are from Turkey, 27 percent of Turkmen military imports come from China. So, at maneuvers in Turkmenistan, they demonstrated the Chinese anti-aircraft missile system FD-2000. Long-range survey radars were also received. Several dozens of Turkmen troops underwent training and education in China. In addition, Ashgabat is considering the acquisition of weapons from the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. Arms preferences and features of diversification within the framework of the military-technical cooperation significantly distinguish Turkmenistan from Kazakhstan and especially from Uzbekistan. The latter focuses primarily on Russia and the United States.

Despite being willing to spend money on modern weapons, Turkmenistan’s armed forces are considered weak with low operational effectiveness. Ashgabat has been unwilling to allocate spending to training and equipment maintenance. Meanwhile, the modern weapons it has acquired largely remain unused due to a lack of qualified personnel.

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has made military reform a central aspect of his policy platform. In 2010, the government adopted a five-year military modernisation plan. However, reports indicate that the programme focuses on rearmament objectives, rather than structural reforms. In November 2015, Berdymukhamedov reportedly told his national security council that Turkmenistan must procure the most advanced modern military equipment.

In the late 1990s, when the Taliban controlled most of Afghanistan, including areas bordering Central Asia, Turkmenistan was the sole CIS state to engage the Taliban diplomatically. After 2001, when the U.S.-led coalition began operations in Afghanistan, the northwestern provinces remained relatively calm. Turkmenistan seemingly had little to worry about from its southern neighbor. Current President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has not fared as well. By the start of 2014, the situation in northern Afghanistan changed. The Turkmen government has ordered snap military drills and increased defense spending since 2014 without explaining the sudden need for either.

Turkmenistan Country or land   158                  
Central Asia Geographic group   34     Table I:     Green figures are highly uncertain
5.000 Political population quintile         Military expenditure, armed forces, GDP, population,     Blue figures are extremely uncertain
2.000 Economic population quintile at MER         labor force, and their ratios, 2006 - 2016     n/a indicates unpublished estimate
2.000 Economic population quintile at PPP                      
Parameter / Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Mean
Demographic parameters
Armed forces personnel (AF) (in thousands) 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 25 25 30 23
- Armed forces personnel as % of population 0.46% 0.45% 0.45% 0.44% 0.44% 0.43% 0.43% 0.42% 0.46% 0.49% 0.54% 0.46%
- Armed forces personnel as % of labor force 1.00% 1.00% 0.99% 0.96% 0.94% 0.92% 0.90% 0.88% 0.95% 1.00% 1.10% 0.97%
Population (midyear, in millions) 4.7 4.8 4.8 4.9 4.9 5.0 5.1 5.1 5.2 5.2 5.3 5.0
Labor force (LF) (midyear, in millions) 2.1 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.3 2.4 2.4 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.6 2.3
- Labor force as % of population 44.1% 44.7% 45.4% 46.1% 46.6% 47.2% 47.6% 47.9% 48.1% 48.4% 48.5% 46.8%
Armed forces composition (in thousands)[1]
- Army (land forces) 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 20 20 25 19.2
- Navy (may include marines) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0.6
- Air force (may include air defense) 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3.0
- Other regular forces (incl. joint & support) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
- Paramilitary and irregular forces 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
Economic parameters in national currency
Military expenditure (ME)
- current national currency units (millions) 380 430 690 660 720 910 1,170 1,360 1,630 1,840 2,210
- constant 2016 ncu (millions) 840 860 860 760 800 910 1,080 1,240 1,470 1,750 2,210 1,160
ME/AF (constant 2016 ncu) 39,200 39,900 40,000 35,300 37,200 42,100 49,900 57,200 62,300 68,300 77,300 49,900
ME per capita (constant 2016 ncu) 180 180 180 160 160 180 210 240 280 330 420 230
Gross domestic product (GDP)
- current national currency units (millions) 22,300 27,000 49,500 57,600 64,400 83,300 100,000 112,000 124,000 125,000 127,000
- constant 2016 ncu (millions) 49,000 54,400 62,400 66,200 72,300 82,900 92,100 102,000 112,000 119,000 127,000 85,300
GDP per capita (constant 2016 ncu) 10,400 11,400 12,900 13,600 14,600 16,600 18,200 19,900 21,600 22,800 23,900 16,900
(ME/AF) / (GDP/LF)[2] 1.7 1.6 1.4 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.4
ME/GDP ("military burden")[3] 1.7% 1.6% 1.4% 1.2% 1.1% 1.1% 1.2% 1.2% 1.3% 1.5% 1.7% 1.4%



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list


One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias


 
Page last modified: 28-02-2020 18:57:46 ZULU