US Nuclear Weapons At Risk of Seizure in Turkey

imgresDozens of US nuclear weapons stored at a Turkish air base near Syria are at risk of being captured by “terrorists or other hostile forces”, a Washington think tank said on Monday.

The US has an estimated 50 nuclear bombs at Incirlik in southern Turkey, 110km from the border with Syria.

The base’s Turkish commander was arrested on suspicion of complicity in last month’s coup plot.

“And hey, it wouldn’t even have to be a coup ultimately commandeering these weapons; it could well be the Turkish government itself!!

With such an improvement in Turkish/Russian relations in the last week, who knows?!? Turkey may well pivot to Russia, declare itself a BRICs nation, and tell NATO to just vanish, permanently.”

“Whether the US could have maintained control of the weapons in the event of a protracted civil conflict in Turkey is an unanswerable question,” said Monday’s report from the Stimson Center, a nonpartisan think tank working to promote peace.

Incirlik is a vital base for the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria, giving drones and warplanes fast access to IS targets.

But the US defence department in March ordered families of US troops and civilian personnel stationed in southern Turkey to leave due to security fears.

“From a security point of view, it’s a roll of the dice to continue to have approximately 50 of America’s nuclear weapons stationed at Incirlik,” report co-author Laicie Heeley said.

“There are significant safeguards in place. But safeguards are just that, they don’t eliminate risk. In the event of a coup, we can’t say for certain that we would have been able to maintain control,” she told AFP.

‘Avoided disaster so far’

The bombs are believed to be kept at Incirlik as a deterrent to Russia and to demonstrate America’s commitment to NATO, the 28-member military alliance that includes Turkey.
The issue has been the subject of renewed debate in the United States since the coup attempt. Continue reading “US Nuclear Weapons At Risk of Seizure in Turkey”