Cyprus’ defence budget decreased by almost 8 per cent between 2010 and 2015, according to the annual report on military forces in Cyprus, issued by the Cyprus Centre for Strategic Studies.
The report notes that for every Cypriot National Guardsman there are 3.4 Turkish soldiers and adds that while the military situation in Cyprus remains basically unchanged since 2002, in terms of defence expenditure there have been drastic reductions by the government due to political and economic considerations.
The defence budget declined from €345.4m in 2010 to €318.9m in 2015 – a decrease of 7.7 per cent -while armaments and maintenance had been reduced from €105.4m to €68.7m during the same period, a decrease of 35 per cent.
According to the report, it is expected that this pressure on military expenditure will continue in the foreseeable future. It is therefore unlikely that there will be any substantial reinforcement of the National Guard in terms of military personnel or advanced weapon systems and technology.
This would have a negative impact on the effectiveness of the force as well as on the prospects of shortening the length of national service, it said.
In terms of military personnel, in 2015 the National Guard numbered between 8,500 and 12,500 with 50,000 reservists.
The entire human military resources on the side of the Republic of Cyprus, including the Greek contingency ELDYK (950) is estimated to number 63,450.
The strength of the Turkish troops in Cyprus is about 43,000. There are about 3,500 serving Turkish Cypriots and 26,000 reservists. The total number of the military personnel on the Turkish side stands at 72,500 , the report said.
It concludes that for every Cypriot National Guardsman there are 3.4 Turkish soldiers.
As regards battle tanks, the report notes that the National Guard currently has 164 tanks, compared to 348 for the Turkish forces.
For each tank the National Guard has, the Turks have 2.1 tanks, compared to ratios of 1:2.8 in 2012, 1:5.7 in 1994 and 1:15 in 1974.
Taking into account the 61 M-48s possessed by ELDYK, the ratio decreases slightly to the benefit of the Republic, thus for every National Guard tank there are 1.5 Turkish tanks.
Regarding APCs, the National Guard has a total of 395 APCs and the Turkish Forces have 627, so for each APC National Guard the ratio is 1:1.4.
As regards Navy and airforce, the Turkish Air Force and Navy possesses superiority in both. (CNA)