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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Turkish Nuclear Weapons - The Ottoman Bomb

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on 04 Septembef 2019 it was unacceptable for nuclear-armed states to forbid Ankara from obtaining its own nuclear weapons, but did not say whether Turkey had plans to obtain them. "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 told his ruling AKP members in the eastern city of Sivas. "There is no developed nation in the world that doesn't have them," Erdogan said.

He also referred to one of his visits to a former leader who sought to make more nuclear missiles, as many as the U.S. and Russia. "I'm not going to reveal the name [of the leader]," he said, adding that the leader was then a president. "That leader said, we have about 7,500 nuclear warheads. Russia and the U.S. have about 12,000-15,000 missiles. We will build more as well. They will compete for building more nuclear warheads," Erdogan said quoting a former president, whose name he did not disclose.

Turkey signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1980, and has also signed the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear detonations for any purpose. Erdogan hinted that he wanted the same protection for Turkey as Israel. "We have Israel nearby, as almost neighbours. They scare (other nations) by possessing these. Noone can touch them."

In 1998, Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif reportedly offered Turkey a “nuclear partnership” on nuclear research, though nothing much seems to have come of the offer. But there are reports of continuing scientific exchange between both countries, suggesting that Turkey might be the long-sought “fourth customer” of A.Q. Khan.

There is a mixed reaction from the Turkish government to the nuclear deal negotiated with Iran by the P5 plus 1 countries in 2015. The prospect of the ending of Iranian sanctions is seen by Ankara as providing major trade opportunities but concerns remain that the settlement will strengthen its neighbor and only deepen the growing sectarian rivalry in the region.

Sahin Alpay, a veteran author and professor of political science, wrote in the Zaman daily on April 14, 2015 that the Erdogan government was after nuclear technology to acquire weapons under the guise of obtaining peaceful nuclear energy reactors. Alpay was arrested in July 2016 and has been in jail for a year on trumped-up charges of coup plotting.

Hans Rühle, a former Head of the Planning Staff in the German Ministry of Defense, wrote in the National Interest on September 22, 2015 "... the Western intelligence community now largely agrees that Turkey is working both on nuclear weapon systems and on their means of delivery. Iran is the model to emulate. Consequently, Turkey has started a large-scale civilian nuclear program, justified by the country's urgent energy needs.... Turkey wants to maintain the option to run the reactors with its own low enriched uranium and to reprocess the spent fuel rods itself. This, in turn, means that Turkey intends to enrich uranium, at least to a low level."

Hayrettin Karaman, the Turkish president’s chief fatwa (religious edict) giver, wrote in the Yeni Safak daily on March 16, 2017 that “we need to consider producing these weapons [WMDs] rather than purchasing them without losing any time and with no regard to words [of caution] and hindrance from the West.” He wrote “Let’s invent [these WMDs] and balance out [the power of the West],” , stressing that Turkey must acquire lethal weapons that are more powerful than or equal to those of the enemy, which is the West and the non-Muslim world.

Ibrahim Karagül, the editor-in-chief of Yeni Safak, a pro-Erdogan paper, wrote on March 27, 2017, 11 days after Karaman voiced his opinion, that Turkey must take extraordinary measures including acquiring nuclear weapons capability against the Western Crusaders who are waging war on Turkey. Writing in the pro-Erdogan Milat daily, columnist Galip Ilhaner stated on July 25, 2017 that Turkey must acquire nuclear weapons in cooperation with Pakistan.

Abdullah Bozkurt, a government-critical Turkish journalist, revealed in August 2017 what he called 'secret plans’ for Ankara to acquire nuclear weapons. He stated there were plans for Ankara to expand, and a "secret plan to acquire weapons of mass destruction - including an atomic bomb for deterrence." Influential advisors close to the President and a group of officials in the government’s inner circle are said to have discussed acquiring an A-bomb, Mr Bozkurt said.

Turkish expert Aykan Erdemir, of the US thinktank Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Erdemir, a former member of the Turkish parliament, said: "Erdogan has a strong desire to turn Turkey into a nuclear power, but doesn't have the capacity."

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Page last modified: 05-09-2019 18:55:21 ZULU