In the 2023 Turkish General Assembly budget negotiations, the pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) MP Sevinç Coşkun noted that TL 470 billion [$25 billion] was allocated in 2023 for the defence and security budget, which was TL 45 billion [$2.4 billion] at the time of the talks with PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan during the resolution process.
Discussions on the 2023 Central Government Budget Law Proposal started on Monday and will continue for 12 days until 16 December. The resource allocation for defence caused heated debate, as Turkey deals with a failing economy and increasing poverty.
Despite economic hardships, the Turkish government has not paused cross-border operations with neighbours Iraq and Syria. Ankara is currently threatening to initiate a ground offensive against Kurdish groups in northeast Syria.
The HDP strongly criticised the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government for prioritising war over economic policies in Monday’s session. HDP MP Pervin Buldan said, “You have allocated TL 470 billion [$25 billion] of the budget for security and defence. That is one of the reasons for high inflation, unemployment and poverty.”
As the HDP defined the government’s 2023 spending plans as a “war budget”, AKP lawmakers did not deny that a substantial budget is allocated to warfare.
The resolution and peace process between Turkey and the PKK ended in 2015 after attempts for negotiations for a period of two years.
The Turkish government has been conducting military operations in Syria since 2016. Turkey’s recent airstrikes against North and East Syria have continued unabated since 19 November.