Nuclear Turkey? Build their own, steal US nukes, how will Russia respond?


Turkey with an atomic bomb: what could be Russia’s response?

Russia may have a nuclear power near by, with which in the past it repeatedly waged wars

By Sergey Putilov

Disagreements with America over the supply of Russian missile systems to Ankara, the scandal over the possible involvement of US intelligence in an attempted military coup in Turkey and the contradictions with Washington over Syria not only push the Turks into Moscow’s arms, but also make them think about ensuring their own security. And at the same time they encourage them to remember the former greatness of their country, when in the era of the Ottoman Empire the Turks ruled half the world.
Nowadays, according to the head of the Turkish state Erdogan, the true greatness of the country can only be achieved through the possession of the atomic bomb. Apparently, the Turkish President’s astounding statement that he considers the situation when the nuclear powers forbid Ankara to develop their own nuclear weapons to be unacceptable should be interpreted in this way.
“Some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads, and not one or two. Moreover, they say that we cannot have them. I cannot agree with this, ”said Erdogan, speaking to members of the ruling Justice Party in the city of Sivas in the east of the country. As a justification for possessing nuclear power, Erdogan pointed to a Jewish state with which disagreements have repeatedly arisen among the Turks, claiming a leadership role in the region once subject to the Turkish sultans.
“We have Israel nearby, we are almost neighbors. They scare other countries with these weapons. No one dares touch them, ”he said.
The first talk that Ankara could become the second country with nuclear weapons in the Islamic world began back in the early eighties of the last century, when Turkey, according to Western media, established contacts with the “father” of the Pakistani atomic bomb, Abdul Qadiir Khan.
The story continued in 1998, when the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif in 1998 launched the initiative of “nuclear cooperation” with Ankara. Among other things, the possibility of producing centrifuges in Turkey was considered. Now Turkey is actively developing a missile program.
In particular, the other day a cruise missile was tested to destroy underground bunkers. In addition, four years ago, Ankara modernized hundreds of F-16 fighters so that they could carry missiles with nuclear warheads.
Theoretically, Turkey can as soon as possible create a “dirty bomb” from spent nuclear fuel contained in the fuel rods of the Russian Akkuyu NPP, which, however, does not exclude a more serious fuel treatment.
“The desire of the Turks during negotiations with the Russians to keep their fuel rods can mean nuclear ambitions, since this is the easiest way to get a plutonium bomb,” suggests Hans Rüle, author of The National Interest.
On the eve of Erdogan ordered the departments to provide maximum assistance in the construction of a nuclear reactor in Akku, the first unit of which should come into operation already in 2023.
However, for possession of a full-fledged atomic bomb this is clearly not enough. It will take years and billions of dollars to build a nuclear arsenal, which Turkey, in a difficult economic situation, can hardly afford. Significantly accelerate the process could cooperation with Iran, which is also suspected of secretly developing nuclear weapons. But Tehran is an ally of Damascus, with whom Ankara has very tense relations.
Should we be afraid that Turkey will acquire its own atomic bomb in the near future? Hardly. The country is closely integrated with the Western community, and still has not parted with the hope of joining the EU. Despite the contradictions with the United States, partnership with the European Union is one of the pillars of Ankara’s foreign policy. The application for possession of atomic weapons will put an end to decades of a loyal course that has led, among other things, Ankara to NATO. Having reached a standard of living comparable to European, the Turks are unlikely to agree to slide to the level of a rogue country like Iran or North Korea. And this will be inevitable due to the boycott, which the European community will know firsthand the Turkish Ottoman Empire’s imperial ambitions, if it decides to join the ranks of the countries of the nuclear club. Nobody wants to get Islamic rule in eastern Europe, fueled by centuries-old aggressive aspirations, and also got a nuclear club in their hands.
“From the point of view of Russia, whose relations with Turkey have ranged over the centuries from endless bloody wars to the current tactical friendship between Moscow and Ankara, the appearance of the Turkish atomic bomb is absolutely unacceptable. This places particular responsibility on the Russian initiators of the Akku NPP project. First of all, in terms of the full return to the Russian Federation of spent nuclear fuel. Although the Kremlin does not mind playing on the nerves of the Western community (and even make money on it), supplying the Turks with the latest anti-aircraft missile systems, and in the future with the latest fighters, however, Ankara’s nuclear ambitions should have a sobering effect on Moscow’s rulers, ”said the head of the strategic center Other Europe research Pavel Levushkan.
Sergey Putilov

Turkey could steal U.S. nuclear weapons at Incirlik – analyst

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s hinting last week at acquiring nuclear weapons left observers envisioning how that might happen, including a possible theft from its NATO ally, said an analysis on Monday in conservative U.S. outlet The National Interest.

Joseph Cirincione, president of the Plowshares Fund, told National Interest reporter Matthew Petti that the threat is real, but not imminent. “If Turkey wanted to build a nuclear bomb, it could,” he said. “It would take decades. It’s not something that would happen overnight.”

A U.S. State Department official pointed out that Turkey agreed to never acquire nuclear weapons by signing the nonproliferation treaty.

Soner Çağaptay, director of the Turkey programme at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Petti that Erdoğan’s comments came from his perception that the unipolar world order imposed by the U.S. is collapsing and he can be more aggressive in his neighborhood.

“Turkey has also been quite aggressive in pushing against Greece and Greek Cypriots in the Eastern [Mediterranean] lately, and I think this is also part and parcel of Erdoğan’s policy of sending signals to Athens,” said Çağaptay, adding that the president also sought to excite his right-wing voter base.

“Nuclear weapons is this ideal way to boost Turkey’s ego, because remember, Turks are grandchildren of an empire,” he said.

Nonproliferation experts worry that fear of a nuclear-armed Iran could drive Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey to pursue the bomb, and Cirincione says Turkey has the most developed industrial base, educated population, and engineering potential.

Also, Turkey has two possible shortcuts to a bomb: buying fuel or even a weapon from nuclear-armed Pakistan, a close ally, or stealing a U.S. hydrogen bomb from Incirlik Air Base in southeast Turkey.

“You could imagine if Turkey attacks a U.S. base, this is an extreme measure. It would not go unanswered. So, there’s a huge deterrent to doing it,” said Cirincione.

During the July 2016 coup attempt, mutinous Turkish officers took over the Turkish garrison at the base, prompting Turkish authorities to cut İncirlik’s electricity and seal off the base from the outside.

“It would not be a trivial military operation, but there’s no question they could overrun the base and take the bombs,” Cirincione said. “How many red flashing lights do you need before you take the bombs out of Turkey? It’s an insane place to keep nuclear weapons…We’re never going to use the bombs we store in Turkey, but Erdoğan migh


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  1. Erdoğan does have a point in that it is hypocritical of nations with nuclear weapons to maintain their arsenals while prohibits other countries from having nuclear weapons.

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