Turkey's military spending increased by 24 percent - report

Turkey’s 2018 military spending increased to $19 billion, a 24 percent rise from the previous year, according to an annual report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Monday.

"In 2018 alone spending grew by 24 percent, the highest increase in military expenditure among the top 15 military spenders," the report said.

Turkey is 15th in the report’s 2018 military expenditure rankings. Turkey’s budget increase comes as it expanded its military operations against the U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in Syria, according to SIPRI.

Tensions have escalated between the United States and Turkey following Turkey's operations in Syria against the People's Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish force that spearheaded the U.S.-backed fight against Islamic State.

Turkey's planned purchase of Russian S-400 air defence missiles is another issue that has soured the relations between Ankara and Washington, the largest military spender in the world.