The powerful Turkish army announced Wednesday, April 11, that it has shelved arms purchases worth $19.5 billion in view of the country's current economic crisis.
"We have decided to postpone 32 projects (supposed to be completed) in the short-, mid- and long-run and to re-evaluate them in line with economic developments," a statement from the general staff said. "The financial value of the postponed projects is approximately $19.5 billion," it added.
The statement did not specify which purchases had been shelved, but stressed that the selection made sure that "Turkey's basic security needs are met and its deterrent power is preserved."
Turkey, which maintains the largest NATO army after the United States, intended to spend some $150 billion on modernizing its forces over the next 30 years.
The general staff's decision follows heavy financial turmoil in Turkey in February, which resulted in the collapse of the Turkish lira. Wednesday's announcement coincided with the most violent anti-government street protests in Turkey since February 22 when the government floated the lira.
The currency has so far lost some 40 percent of its value against the dollar, pushing inflation up and sending the Ankara government running for foreign aid of some $12 billion. — (AFP, Ankara)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)