Turkish defense companies’ commitment to transparency is ‘very low’: Defense Companies Index

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Four defense companies from Turkey received failing grades in the Defence Companies Index on Anti-Corruption and Corporate Transparency (DCI) published today by Transparency International –- Defence & Security, one of Transparency International’s global programs. 

The level of commitment to transparency and anti-corruption standards by Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc., STM Savunma Teknolojileri Muhendislik ve Ticaret A.S. and Roketsan A.Ş. was graded “very low” by the index, while the commitment of Aselsan A.Ş. was ranked as “limited.”

The DCI 2020 assesses 134 of the world’s largest defense companies across 38 countries, in terms of their anti-bribery and corruption record, based on publicly available information. The index gives grades from “A,” very high commitment, to “F,” very low commitment.

Three out of the four defense companies from Turkey that made it to the list received F’s, while Aselsan A.Ş. received a D. All four companies are listed by the index as “state-owned enterprises.”

According to key findings of the index, of the 36 companies that scored a “C” or higher, 21 are based in Europe and 13 are headquartered in North America.

Substantial increase in Turkey’s defense spending

Turkey’s military spending in 2018 increased by 24 percent to $19 billion, the highest annual percentage increase among the world’s top 15 military spenders, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), an independent international institute established in 1966 and dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.

The Turkish government budget for 2021, which has been submitted to parliament for approval, also includes a huge increase in security-related spending and amounts in total to 138 billion lira ($17.3 billion).

According to critics, a coup attempt in July 2016 played a significant role in the increase of security-related expenditures in the country. Following the coup attempt, Turkey increased its cross-border operations, with the first one in Syria in August 2016. 

Critics say the increased budget for defense and security is a result of ongoing controversial military incursions and interventions in regions such as Nagorno-Karabakh, Libya, Syria and Qatar.

The international community, including NATO, has repeatedly criticized Turkey, the second-largest NATO ally in terms of military size, for its involvement in international conflicts and military deals conducted with Russia. Thus, it has faced sanctions from Western countries, including the US and Canada.

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