Turkey has become the sixth largest arms importer in the world between 2011 and 2015, with the United States as the world’s biggest arms supplier, according to latest report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The volume of international transfers of major weapons in 2011–15 was 14% higher than in 2006–10. The five biggest exporters in 2011–15 were the United States, Russia, China, France and Germany, and the five biggest importers were India, Saudi Arabia, China, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Australia.
Turkey has also become the third largest recipient of arms from the U.S., which was the top arms exporter in the same period. Turkey’s arms imports accounted for 6.6% of U.S. arms exports. Countries who received the most arms from the U.S. were Saudi Arabia, accounting for 9.7 % of U.S. arms exports, and the UAE with 9.1%.
At the regional level, the Middle East was the largest recipient of U.S. weapons, accounting for 41% of arms exports. Asia and Oceania received 40% and Europe 9.9% . Supplies of aircraft accounted for 59% of U.S. arms exports
What makes relevant this kind of reports for Turkey is the delicate “arms balance” with respect to Greece. Deliveries to Greece in 2011–15 were down by 77% compared with 2006–10. However, while Greece remained in deep economic crisis in 2015, its arms imports increased steeply that year due to the delivery of 2 submarines from Germany ordered in 2000. Greece’s submarine procurement is linked to its rivalry with Turkey, which has 6 submarines on order of the same type as Greece received in 2015.