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US Nukes in Turkey Not Secure, Former US Defense Officials Say

Ex-Pentagon officials have called for the US to pull its nuclear weapons from Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base as tensions linger between Washington and Ankara.
Joseph Cirincione, president of the nonproliferation and anti-war Ploughshares Fund nonprofit, told Stars and Stripes that the Turkish base was the "worst place possible to be keeping"roughly 50 of Washington’s nukes. 
Cirincione said there are B61 gravity bombs stored at Incirlik, the maximum yield of which has 10 times the power of the bomb Washington dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. 
Officials have also suggested relocating the 2,500 US troops currently housed at the base.
Relations between Turkey and the US have been on the decline since the failed coup in Ankara in July 2016. President Recep Erdogan has been cracking down on the government’s opposition since last summer, leading NATO and other observers to worry the country is taking a turn towards authoritarianism.
Some estimates say that more than 70,000 people have been arrested for alleged involvement in the uprising, including judges, military and police officials, university professors and other dignitaries.
Also at issue is Ankara agreeing to buy Russia’s S-400 Air Defense System, and its taking issue with the goals of the US-lead coalition in Syria. 
During a July 25 address to Parliament lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdogan defended the purchase, asking "Why will it cause tension? A country should be in search for the ideal ways for its own security," according to Hurriyet Daily News. Erdogan pointed out that for years Greece, a NATO member state, has been using the Russian-made system without controversy.
There is also suspicion in Washington that Turkey may have leaked the locations of sensitive US bases in Syria to a state-run news agency. 
Former deputy commander of US European Command Charles Wald told Stars and Stripes that Washington is looking "rather weak… uncoordinated and not very strategic" in front of an ally that is behaving lately like more of an adversary. 
"Right after the coup attempt they shut our base down for about a week… I think Turkey needs to be treated in some cases, at the very least, as neutral," he advised.
In June, Germany decided to pull its forces from Incirlik after Turkey refused to let German MPs visit the base, a response to Berlin granting asylum to Turkish soldiers believed to be involved in July’s ill-fated insurrection.
One former senior NATO official said that regional issues make Incirlik an unsafe place for US weapons, telling Stars and Stripes, "If there are nuclear weapons stored in Turkey, they should be removed given the instability, both in the country and across the border in Syria and Iraq."

2 σχόλια:

  1. Concerns raised over military presence, nukes stored in Turkey.
    Published: July 26, 2017


    “Given recent events in Turkey, especially reports of the reported Turkish decision to purchase a Russian missile system, NATO would be wise to be considering a Plan B in the case that the alliance is asked to leave Incirlik,” said James Stavridis, a retired admiral and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander-Europe.

    “We are looking rather weak. We are looking rather uncoordinated and not very strategic,” said Charles Wald, a retired general and former deputy commander at U.S. European Command. “Right after the coup attempt they shut our base down for about a week ... I think Turkey needs to be treated in some cases, at the very least, as neutral.”
    “One alternative to immediately consider would be Greece, which certainly has excellent basing facilities both in the Mediterranean on Crete and on the mainland of Greece itself,” said Stavridis, dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

  2. Is Turkey Secretly Working on Nuclear Weapons?

    While the world worries about Iran's nuclear program, could another nation in the Middle East have atomic desires?

    Hans Rühle

    September 22, 2015


    the Western intelligence community now largely agrees that Turkey is working both on nuclear weapon systems and on their means of delivery. Iran is the model to emulate. Consequently, Turkey has started a large-scale civilian nuclear program, justified by the country's urgent energy needs.
    However, a thorough analysis of the contracts reveals that these projects are not just about improving Turkey's energy supply. Turkey has also consciously opened the door to a military nuclear option.
    The path that Turkey wants to take is clear: to follow in Iran’s footsteps.
    Turkey’s motives for rejecting the continuous uranium supply by its Russian and Japanese-French business partners may appear dubious; its rejection to return the spent fuel rods to the supplying countries is outright disastrous, as it allows for only one conclusion: Turkey is bent on producing plutonium for making weapons.
    The assumption that Turkey is aiming for nuclear weapons is also supported by the country’s activities towards creating the entire nuclear fuel cycle. As has been revealed by a well-connected information service, German intelligence reported that as far back as May 2010, Prime Minister Erdogan had demanded to secretly start preparing for the construction of sites to enrich uranium.
    If Turkey had indeed been the “fourth customer” of the Pakistani nuclear smuggler, one must assume that the country is now in possession of all documentation necessary to build a bomb. And even if Turkey had not been the fourth customer, one must assume that, given the long cooperation on the production of centrifuges, Khan did instruct his preferred partner not just in how to use centrifuges, but also in weaponization.
    According to some sources, Israeli prime minister Netanyahu informed then Greek prime minister Papandreou on March 15, 2010 that Turkey could become a nuclear power any time it wanted to.
    Another indirect piece of evidence for the existence of a Turkish nuclear-weapons program is Ankara’s missile program.
    In 2012, Turkey tested a missile with a range of 1500 km, and it also became known that the missile with a range of 2500 km would be operational by 2015.

    Even if Turkey will not be able to keep these deadlines, its intention to develop medium-range missiles is clear. This raises the question as to the strategic rationale of such weapons. The answer is fairly simple: Medium-range missiles only make sense with a nuclear payload. Thus, Turkey’s development of medium- or long-range missiles can only be explained in the context of a nuclear-weapons program. In a nutshell, Turkey’s desire to build missiles with longer ranges is a strong piece of evidence for the existence of a nuclear program.
    President Abdullah Gül. In an interview with the journal Foreign Affairs, Gül said that “Turkey will not allow that a neighbouring country has weapons that Turkey itself does not have.”
    Given Erdogan’s vision of Turkey as a self-confident, assertive and potentially independent regional leader in the Middle East, and given the existence of an established (Israel) and an emerging nuclear power (Iran), Turkey has no real alternative but to acquire nuclear arms as well. If Turkey does not opt for nuclear weapons, it will remain second class—a position that Erdogan cannot and will not accept.

    Hans Rühle is a former Head of the Planning Staff in the German Ministry of Defense. He publishes frequently on security and defense matters.


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