Erdogan “does not accept” that Turkey can be deprived of nuclear missiles

0 Comment

Steve Briggs

Steve is an accomplished writer and journalist with an interest in military affairs around the world. Previously he was a contributor to the AFJ (Armed Forces Journal - armedforcesjournal.com). Outside of his normal work, he enjoys playing FPS games and paintball.

2344 Gnatty Creek Road, SPIRITWOOD North Dakota, 58481
Steve Briggs

Was Hans Rühle, a German defense expert, right when he suggested that Turkey was trying to acquire nuclear weapons? Several plans to build a nuclear power plant in Turkey have been mentioned over the years, but none were verified. And in July 2000, then-Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit put an end to the project to build at least two 700 MW reactors on the shores of Akkuyu Bay: “The world is giving up atomic energy,” he had said.

However, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who highlighted the need to meet the ever-growing energy needs of his country, revived the Turkish nuclear program, with two projects: one in Akkuyu, entrusted to Russian Rosatom, the other at Sinop, led by a Franco-Japanese consortium involving Engie, Areva, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry and Itochu.

Typically, states launching such programs have a contract signed by the builders and operators of nuclear power plants that commits the latter to supply the uranium and recycle the waste for several decades. However, the Turkish government has not taken this sentence.

“Turkey has refrained from contractually fixing the supply of uranium and the return of spent fuel. On the contrary, it insisted on doing it separately later. Ankara did not explain this unusual maneuver in the negotiations. But the underlying intention is easy to understand: Turkish leaders want to keep these parts of the nuclear program in their hands – and they are essential for any state wishing to develop nuclear weapons,” said the German expert Rühle.

And to add: “Turkey obviously does not want to abandon its spent fuel. The only logical explanation is that it wants to prepare for the construction of a plutonium bomb.”

In addition, Mr Rühle did not fail to point out Turkey’s close ties with Pakistan, particularly in the fields of research and defense. The two countries have signed nearly 60 military agreements in recent years and their military advisory group, established in 2003, has become a “high-level cooperation council.”

Moreover, Turkey, or at least some of its industrialists, played a role in Islamabad’s military nuclear program, notably supplying Abdul Qadeer Khan, the “father” of the Pakistani nuclear bomb, with the necessary electronics.

Within NATO, of which Ankara has been a member since 1952, only three members are armed with nuclear weapons: the United States, France and the United Kingdom.

In addition, Turkey is one of five Alliance countries that are hosting B-61 tactical nuclear bombs on the ground, provided by the United States under the Atlantic Organization’s concept of “nuclear sharing.” But that might not last, because of the purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems. This is a hypothesis regularly advanced for some time.

What is certain is that Turkey is moving further and further away from the Atlantic Alliance to better turn to Russia. Last week, Erdogan confirmed Ankara’s interest in Russian warplanes Su-57 “Frazor” and Su-35 “Flanker-E” to replace the F-35A, which will not be finally available to him. And he is ready to challenge the European Union on the issue of gas drilling off Cyprus.

However, according to a survey conducted by Istanbul’s Kadir Has University, the Turkish public believes that the United States represents the first threat.

“While last year, 60.2% of respondents considered the United States as the biggest threat to Turkey, this percentage has risen to 81.3% this year. The United States is closely monitored by Israel as a country threatening Turkey with 70.8%,” said the survey.

At the same time, feelings towards NATO are more favorable. “While 60.8% of participants said that Turkey’s membership in NATO should continue, 50.3% believe that membership is beneficial for Turkey. In addition, 69.6% believe that the main contribution of NATO to Turkey is that it ‘will help Turkey in case of a possible attack’,” the document continues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *