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Turkey and Black Sea Security

Publisher: SIPRI
December, 2018

The Black Sea region is experiencing a changing military balance. The six littoral states (Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine) intensified their efforts to build up their military potential after Russia’s takeover of Crimea and the start of the internationalized civil war in eastern Ukraine  in 2014.

Although security in the Black Sea region has always been and remains important for Turkey, the current Turkish defence policy seems to be largely directed southwards, towards the Middle East. Russian–Turkish relations have been ambiguous for some years. Turkey has openly expressed concern about perceived Russian ambitions in the Black Sea region and called for a greater North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) presence there. However, Turkey’s relations with Russia have been improving since mid-2016 while its commitment to NATO appears to have weakened.


I. Background

II. Defence policy

III. Armed forces structure

IV. Armed forces deployment

V. Military spending

VI. Arms holdings and acquisitions

VII. Conclusions


Siemon T. Wezeman is a Senior Researcher in the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
Alexandra Kuimova Alexandra Kuimova is a Researcher with UNIDIR’s Conventional Arms and Ammunition Programme. She was previously a Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.