Under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey is increasingly using military influence to pursue its foreign policy objectives, with plans to deploy thousands of troops in bases abroad by the 2020s. Turkey is expanding its intervention in Syria while keeping up a military presence in Iraq, Qatar, Somalia and Afghanistan and maintaining peacekeeping troops in the Balkans, according to Bloomberg News.
At the same time, the Turkish navy patrols the Mediterranean and Aegean seas to protect energy and territorial interests. The effort comes at a cost. The military budget as a percentage of gross domestic product has risen, from 1.8 percent in 2015 to 2.2 percent in 2017, at a time when Turkey’s economy has weakened.