The Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement--U.S. Interests and Turkish Needs

ID-82-31: Published: May 7, 1982. Publicly Released: May 17, 1982.

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GAO was asked to review the 1980 Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement (DECA) with Turkey, focusing on: (1) the impact of U.S. security assistance in meeting Turkey's needs; (2) the U.S. use of military facilities; and (3) proposed military construction.

Turkey is faced with tremendous economic problems, including a lack of foreign exchange, a high debt burden, and balance of payment difficulties. Turkey lags behind other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies militarily and must rely on their economic and military assistance. DECA contains no specific level of commitment for U.S. assistance; it does include an umbrella agreement to foster military, economic, and social development, as well as agreements on defense, industrial cooperation, and installations. The United States has improved its military operations and interests in Turkey and, with minor exceptions, the agreement appears to be working well. The U.S. fiscal year 1982 best efforts security assistance package is over $700 million. However, even with this assistance, there is a shortage of funds to meet Turkish military needs. Turkey's ability to perform NATO missions is jeopardized because its economy is weak, its military equipment faces obsolescence, and 1981 operations and maintenance costs reduced the funds available for modernization. Turkey has requested that the United States assist in producing military equipment, improving aircraft capabilities, constructing modern warships, and upgrading tanks. The majority of NATO countries have done little to strengthen Turkey militarily, and the value of pledged economic assistance declined from 1980 to 1981. Turkey's economic recovery is contingent upon continued assistance from NATO countries for the next several years.

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