Turkey’s Erdogan ‘Cannot Accept’ Not Having Nuclear Weapons

Turkey already hosts 50 US nuclear bombs at Incirlik

With the Turkish invasion of Syria bringing a lot of second-guessing of US-Turkish ties, a comment made by President Erdogan back in September, which went largely ignored, is getting a lot of new attention.

At the governing party conference, Erdogan complained that the West insists Turkey isn’t allow to have “missiles with nuclear warheads” and concluded that he “cannot accept” that restriction.

This is bringing a lot of speculation that Turkey might be about to become another state making an actual attempt at acquiring nuclear weaponry. Some former US officials are suggesting that the situation in Syria may be facilitating a run for nuclear weapons.

It’s not clear why Turkey would even conceivably want such arms, particularly since they already host an estimated 50 US nuclear weapons at Incirlik Air Base. Turkey also has an advanced civilian nuclear program, and ties to Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan which suggests they could break out in relatively short order.

On top of that, analysts note Turkey is getting a Russian-made power plant, and has no deal on what to do with the waste that site produces, potentially another proliferation risk.

That Turkey has been capable of making nuclear arms for years has long been ignored, along with Erdogan flat out saying he doesn’t accept the restriction. Officials largely didn’t care, Turkey being a close NATO ally. Now that the US is constantly threatening sanctions and to destroy their economy, they also are looking for reasons to keep escalating a sanctions war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.