Erdogan Says He Cannot Accept Other States' Claims That Turkey 'Can't' Have Nukes
by Tim Korso
16:30 05.09.2019(updated 16:32 05.09.2019)
The country is currently a signatory to two international treaties prohibiting it from developing and testing nuclear weapons. At the same time, two of Turkey's regional neighbours, Israel and Iran, are suspected of either possessing or developing such weapons, although no solid evidence proving this has ever been presented.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lambasted limitations imposed on his country in terms of developing nuclear weapons during a speech before members of the governing AK Party in the city of Sivas.
"Some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads, not one or two. But [they tell us] we can't have them. This, I cannot accept", he said.
To substantiate his claims, he recalled the widespread belief that Israel secretly possesses nuclear weapons. Erdogan noted that Tel Aviv scares other countries "by possessing these [weapons]" and argued that because of this, "no one can touch them".
The Turkish president further claimed that "no developed nation in the world" exists without nuclear weapons, although many do. At the same time, Erdogan hasn't hinted at whether he intends to obtain such a capability for his country.
There is no country in the Middle East that officially possesses nuclear weapons, although a US base in Turkey reportedly has some at its disposal. At the same time, Israel has long been suspected of possessing nuclear weapons, although Tel Aviv has never explicitly confirmed or denied this.
Iran, in turn, has been suspected by Western states and Israel of carrying out research in this field. In a bid to prevent nuclear proliferation, a group of states signed a deal with Iran to limit its nuclear programme; however, this was dealt a heavy blow in 2018, when the US abandoned the accord.
Turkey itself is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which prohibit the possession, development, production, and testing of nuclear weapons.
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