It is often assumed that there is trade-off between defence spending and spending on education and health, even though the empirical literature suggests mixed evidence about its nature. This study investigates the possible trade-off between Turkish defence spending and spending on health and education during the Turkish republican era. In this context, the relationship between health, education and military expenditure has been analysed within a multi-equation framework employing the Seemingly Unrelated Regression (SUR) estimation method. The main findings of this article suggest that while military spending decisions are made independently of health and education expenditure, there are trade-offs between defence and welfare spending. While the trade-off is negative between defence and health, it is positive between defence and education. Moreover, it appears that there is a competition between education and health expenditure in the budgeting process.