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.
|Central Asia||Geographi||34||Table I:||Green figures are highly uncertain|
|5.000||Political p||Military expenditure, armed forces, GDP, population,||Blue figures are extremely uncertain|
|2.000||Economic||labor force, and their ratios, 2006 - 2016||n/a indicates unpublished estimate|
|- Armed f||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 f||1.00%||1.00%||0.99%||0.96%||0.94%||0.92%||0.90%||0.88%||0.95%||1.00%||1.10%||0.97%|
|- Labor fo||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)|
|- Army (la||18||18||18||18||18||18||18||18||20||20||25||19.2|
|- Navy (m||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||0.6|
|- Air force||3||3||3||3||3||3||3||3||3||3||3||3.0|
|- Other re||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.0|
|Economic parameters in national currency|
|Military expenditure (ME)|
|ME per ca||180||180||180||160||160||180||210||240||280||330||420||230|
|Gross domestic product (GDP)|
|GDP per c||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) / (||1.7||1.6||1.4||1.2||1.2||1.2||1.3||1.4||1.4||1.5||1.6||1.4|
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