The New York Times says, US officials met in recent days to review plans to remove some 50 nuclear weapons housed under American control at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.
Tension is growing between Ankara and the U.S. after President Donald Trump said Monday he would issue new sanctions against Turkey and will halting trade negotiations and raise steel tariffs.
The U.S. says this is in efforts to pressure Ankara to stop its ongoing offensive attack in Syria against Kurdish forces.
The U.S. stores B61 gravity bombs on Turkish soil as a deterrent to Russia, showing America’s commitment to NATO.
Officials told NTY the State and Energy Department was quietly examining ways to remove the tactical nukes.
This will mark the end of the Turkish-American military alliance but US officials refused to reply to NYT questions on the matter.
According to the NY paper, this is not the first time the security of the nuclear weapons stationed on a base in southern Turkey not far from the Syrian border (110 km away) is raised.
A think tank warned in 2016 during the coup attempt in Turkey, the bombs could fall into the hands of terrorists or other hostile forces.
The Times of Israel believe Turkish President Recep Erdogan wants to have nuclear weapons, basing its assessment on the latter’s frustration for not having such weapons.
The only Muslim country having nuclear weapons is Pakistan. Reports say Iran has a secret plan for the development of its own nuclear bombs. But Teheran has denied such allegations.
Erdogan last month said Turkey should be allowed to have nukes if Israel does, adding that if some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads, not one or two, yet Turkey is told it cannot have such weapons.
“There is no developed nation in the world that doesn’t have them,” Erdogan said.
Under an outdated international treaty, only the U.S., Russia, U.K. France and China could have nuclear weapons but India, Pakistan and North Korea developed them secretly.
Israel is also said to have developed its nuclear weapons but with either European or American help.
South Africa is the only country that has dismantled all its Atomic bombs after the collapse of apartheid.