Türkiye is testing S-400 air defense systems received from Russia on American-made aircraft

Currently, the Turkish army is the best army in the Middle East. As of 2020, the strength of the Turkish armed forces (excluding reservists) is 410,500 people . Moreover, in wartime, a military-trained reserve of up to 90 thousand people can be easily used, of which 38 thousand people are the first-line reserve.

In terms of military spending in 2014, Turkey was in 15th place in the world - $22.6 billion (data from the Stockholm Peace Research Institute). At the same time, in terms of the number of personnel in Europe, there is no army that would be stronger than the Turkish one (with the exception of Russia). For example, today there are about 170 thousand people serving in the German armed forces, about 180 thousand people are serving in the British army, and they are continuously decreasing.

The Turkish armed forces consist of the ground forces, air force, navy, gendarmerie (in peacetime subordinate to the minister of the interior) and coast guard. Organizationally, they are part of two ministries - the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkey.

The Turkish army is recruited according to the conscription principle . The recruitment system and service in the Turkish army are prescribed in the law on universal conscription. According to this document, military service is compulsory for all males aged 20 to 41 who have no medical contraindications. The period of service in all branches of the armed forces today is 12 months, while Turkish citizens have the opportunity to obtain an exemption from conscription by paying a certain amount of money to the country's budget. In 2013, it was about 30 thousand liras (17 thousand dollars) - a considerable amount for any average Turkish conscript.

Upon completion of military service, privates and sergeants are transferred to the reserve. For a year they are in the first-line reserve, which is called “special conscription,” after which they are transferred to the 2nd-line reserve (up to 41 years old) and 3rd-line reserve (up to 60 years old). At the same time, the “special conscription” contingent and reservists of the next stages in the event of a mobilization announcement are sent to replenish existing or emerging units and formations.

Political geography

By themselves, these figures do not fully reflect the balance of power between the two countries, since they do not take into account many factors, one of which is the geographical location of the country.

For example, in the Black Sea, Russia has only one missile cruiser, one large anti-submarine ship, three long-range patrol ships, six small anti-submarine and four small missile ships, and two diesel submarines. The Turkish Navy includes 16 frigates, eight corvettes, and 13 diesel submarines.

Image copyright AP Image caption The Turkish Air Force has 1,020 aircraft

Turkish armed forces are concentrated in one region. Although Turkey is a fairly large state by the standards of the region, and it has difficult relations with many of its neighbors, the territory and length of its borders are much smaller than those of Russia.

The Turkish fleet, for example, is deployed in only two seas - the Aegean and Black, which are located next to each other.

The passage of warships and civilian vessels through the straits is regulated by the Montreux Convention of 1936. According to this document, Ankara has the right to close the Bosporus and Dardanelles to warships only if it is in a state of war.

However, an officially declared war can also trigger the collective security mechanism of the North Atlantic Treaty - its Article 5 considers an attack on one country, as well as on its armed forces, as an attack on all countries of the alliance. In this case, any enemy of Turkey will have to deal with NATO armed forces.

Weapons and military equipment[ | ]

Armored vehicles[ | ]

Leopard 2A4GermanyMain battle tank316[10]
Leopard 1A3GermanyMain battle tank227[1]
Leopard 1A4GermanyMain battle tank170[1]
M60A1USAMedium tank100[10]
M60A3USAMedium tank650[10]
M60TUSA/IsraelMedium tank166[10]
M48A5 T1/T2USAMedium tank750[10]There are also 2,000 M48A5T1 units in storage. Modifications for Turkey M48A5T1 and M48A5T2[10]
Armored fighting vehicles
ACV-15TürkiyeInfantry fighting vehicle645[1]
M113USAArmored personnel carrier2813[10]M113/M113A1/M113A2
AAPCTürkiyeArmored personnel carrier823[1]
Otokar AkrepReconnaissance armored carabout 250
ARSV CobraTürkiyeArmored car800+[10]
Cobra IITürkiyeArmored car82[10]
KIRPITürkiyeArmored car~650[10]

Artillery and missile systems[ | ]

Barrel systems
M52TUSA155 mm self-propelled gun365[10]
M44T1USA155 mm self-propelled gun150[1]
MKE Yavuz T-155Türkiye155 mm self-propelled gunn/a
T-155 "Firtina"Republic of Korea/Türkiye155 mm self-propelled gun~310[10]
M107USA175 mm self-propelled gun36[10]
M110A2USA203 mm self-propelled guns219[10]
M101A1USA105 mm howitzer75+[10]
M114USA155 mm howitzer517[10]Modifications M114A1 and M114A2
PantherSingapore/Türkiye155 mm self-propelled howitzer6[10]
M115USA203 mm howitzer162[10]
T-122 "Sakarya"Türkiye122 mm MLRS36[1]
Multiple launch rocket systems
M270MLRSUSA227 mm MLRS12[10]
TR-300 "Kasyrga"China/Türkiye302 mm MLRS50+[1]
Tactical missile systems
MGM-140 ATACMSUSAOperational-tactical missile systemn/a[1]
J-600T "Yildirim"China/TürkiyeOperational-tactical missile systemn/a[1]
M106A1USASelf-propelled 106.7 mm mortar1264[1]M106A1. M30 mortar on M113 chassis
M1/M29USA81 mm mortar3792[10]
UT-1Türkiye81 mm mortar
120 mm mortars578[10]

Anti-tank weapons[ | ]

M40A1USA106 mm recoilless rifle2329[10]
M18USA57 mm recoilless rifle923[10]
ACV-15 TOWUSASelf-propelled anti-tank missile system365[1]
Kornet-ERussiaAnti-tank missile systemn/a[1]
EryxFranceAnti-tank missile systemn/a[1]
MilanGermany/FranceAnti-tank missile systemn/a[1]
Cobra/Anti-tank missile systemn/a[1]

Air defense[ | ]

Man-portable anti-aircraft missile systems
AtilganTürkiyeInstallation with FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS70[10]
ZipkinTürkiyeInstallation with FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS78[10]
FIM-92 StingerUSAMan-portable anti-aircraft missile system146[11]
M42A1USAAnti-aircraft self-propelled gun262[10]
Oerlikon GAI-D01Canada439[10]

Engineering and repair equipment[ | ]

M48 AEVTürkiyeEngineering tank12[11]created by Turkey based on the M48 tank
M113A2T2USAEngineering tankn/abased on M113
Leopard 1 ARVGermanyArmored repair and recovery vehicle12[11]ARV based on Leopard 1
M48T5 ARVTürkiyeArmored repair and recovery vehicle105[11]ARV based on M48
M88A1USAArmored repair and recovery vehicle33[11]
TamkarTürkiyeMine clearance trailern/a

Army Aviation[ | ]

Beech 200USAGeneral purpose aircraft5[11]used as transport
Cessna 185USAGeneral purpose aircraft30[11]used as transport
Cessna 421USAGeneral purpose aircraft3[11]used as transport
Cessna T182USAGeneral purpose aircraft45[11]used as training
Cessna T-41DUSAGeneral purpose aircraft25[11]used as training
T-42AUSAGeneral purpose aircraft4[11]used as training
Bell AH-1USAAttack helicopter40[11]18
Agusta T 129AItalyAttack helicopter9[11]
Hughes 300CUSALight helicopter28[11]
Bell OH-58USAMulti-role helicopter3[11]used as reconnaissance/observation
AS.532ULFranceMulti-role helicopter30[11]used as transport
Sikorsky S-70AUSAMulti-role helicoptermore than 50[11]used as transport
Bell 204/205USAMulti-role helicopter76[11]64 Bell 205A (AB-205A) and 12 Bell 204B (AB-204B), used as transport
Bell 205 (UH-1H)USAMulti-role helicopterabout 45[11]used as transport
Bell 206USAMulti-role helicopter20[11]used as transport
Exercit Falcon 600TürkiyeUnmanned aerial vehiclen/a
CL-89CanadaUnmanned aerial vehiclen/a
GNATUSAUnmanned aerial vehiclen/a
IAI HarpyIsraelUnmanned aerial vehiclen/a

Reconnaissance and target designation means[ | ]

AN/TPQ-36USACounter-battery radar

Combat training

Another factor that has a serious impact on the course of any conflict is the training of the army and the morale of the military personnel.

The Turkish army, according to experts, is one of the most prepared in the region and the world. She is trained to NATO standards.

As Konstantin Makienko, an expert at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, noted in an interview with the BBC, the Turkish military has combat experience.

“Of course, anti-guerrilla actions against the Kurds are a rather specific experience, but still, a fired soldier is always better than an unfired one... The Turkish armed forces are a very serious force,” he said.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Recep Tayyip Erdogan's relationship with the army has often been tense

Like the Russian armed forces, the Turkish army has recently been conducting quite a lot of training and exercises, in particular with regard to pilots.

“Turkey has a developed pilot training system. Their flight time is comparable - they have about a hundred hours of flight time, just like us. They have slightly more simulators, we have more actual flight time,” said military observer Ilya Kramnik.


  • 1 Structure 1.1 Field formations
  • 1.2 Preparation
  • 1.3 Organization
  • 2 Perspectives
  • 3 Weapons and military equipment
      3.1 Armored vehicles
  • 3.2 Artillery and missile systems
  • 3.3 Anti-tank weapons
  • 3.4 Air defense
  • 3.5 Engineering and repair equipment
  • 3.6 Army aviation
  • 3.7 Reconnaissance and target designation equipment
  • 4 Notes
  • 5 Links
  • Elite under attack

    As Turkish expert and visiting professor at Carnegie Europe Sinan Ulgen told the BBC, the military in Turkey are traditionally the elite of society.

    “It is one of the most respected and disciplined institutions in society. This attitude towards the military is one of the Turkish traditions, which is rooted in history,” he said. However, according to the professor, this factor also has a negative side.

    Throughout the 20th century, the military considered itself the guardians of the foundations of the secular Turkish state, laid down by Kemal Atatürk, and did not hesitate to remove the legitimate government from power if it saw a threat to the constitutional order.

    They carried out three coups between 1960 and 1980 and have a long history of confrontation with the country's ruling Justice and Development Party. This tradition was destroyed in the early 2010s.

    “Several legal blows were struck against the army […] in order to weaken its political influence. They turned out to be successful. However, this negatively affected the morale of the military. Many of the high command ended up in prison for crimes they did not commit,” Ulgen said.

    Notes[ | ]

    1. 12345678910111213141516171819
      The Military Balance 2020. - P. 157.
    2. Autobiography of General Yaşar GÜLER in the official website of the Turkish Land Forces. (tour.)
    3. IISS 2010, pages 164–168
    4. T.A.
      Ganiev S.M. Zadonsky. Military power of the Turkish Republic
    5. President calls for national unity Archived September 16, 2007, Turkish Daily News
      , Thursday, September 13, 2007
    6. Unification of Culture a-i Tourism Ministries constitutional One soldier killed, three injured in terrorist attack Minister Cicek says Turkey's credit Archived December 21, 2012, Turkish Daily News
      , October 17, 2003.
    7. Turkey: A Country Study
      , p.350. Kessinger Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-4191-9126-8
    8. Forum discussion of current structure, drawn from S&H Magazine
    9. Ganiev T.A., Zadonsky S.M.
      Military power of the Turkish Republic. - Middle East Institute, 2018. - ISBN 978-5-89394-290-3.
    10. 12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728
      The Military Balance 2020. - P. 155.
    11. 123456789101112131415161718192021
      The Military Balance 2020. - P. 148.


    Generals and officers

    CategoriesGenerals[7]Senior officersJunior officers
    Turkish rankGeneralKorgeneralTümgeneralTuğgeneralAlbayYarbayBinbaşıYuzbaşıÜsteğmenTeğmenAsteğmen
    Russian complianceArmy GeneralColonel GeneralLieutenant GeneralMajor GeneralColonelLieutenant colonelMajorCaptainSenior LieutenantLieutenantEnsign

    Sergeants and privates

    CategoriesSub-officersSergeants and petty officersSoldiers
    Turkish rankKıdemli BaşçavuşBaşçavuşKıdemli ÜstçavuşÜstçavuşKıdemli ÇavuşAstsubay ÇavuşEr
    Russian complianceSenior Warrant OfficerEnsignNoSergeant MajorStaff SergeantSergeantLance SergeantCorporalPrivate

    Composition of the armed forces

    Units of the Turkish Ministry of Defense

    Ground troops

    Main article: Turkish Ground Forces

    Naval forces

    Main article: Turkish Navy

    Air Force

    Main article: Turkish Air Force

    Divisions of the Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs


    Main article: Turkish Gendarmerie

    Coast security

    Main article: Turkish Coast Guard

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