Turkish President reportedly expressed nuclear ambitions in the weeks leading up to Turkey’s incursion against the Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria
According to The New York Times, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodogan reportedly expressed nuclear ambitions in the weeks leading up to Turkey’s incursion against the Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria, stating in late September that “Some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads, but the West insists we can’t have them. This, I cannot accept.” This Turkish pursuit of nuclear weapons raises immediate global concerns, specifically due to the presence of nearly 50 American nuclear weapons stored at an air base on Turkish soil. If Turkish-American relations were to deteriorate, reports the New York Times, it is uncertain whether American access to the air base would be assured. According to the UN, Turkish obtainment of a nuclear weapon would also put Turkey in direct violation of nuclear restrictions set in place in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, a treaty signed in the 1970s with the objective of disarming nuclear-weapon states. ~
These ambitions come amid escalating tensions and power shifts in the region of Turkey and northeastern Syria initiated by the withdrawal of American troops from posts near two prominent Syrian towns near the border of Turkey late last month. Turkish forces launched an operation against Kurdish forces in northeastern syria in response to this American move with the goal of creating a “buffer zone” along the Turkey-Syrian border. The commander of Kurdish forces, Mazloum Abdi, wrote in an article last week that he “had no option but to seek help from the Syrian Army and their Russian allies” in the absence of American assistance. This deal allowed the Syrian army to enter northeastern Syria, an area Assad has been absent from for almost eight years due to Syria’s war. ~
Despite the uncertainty of power in the region, many experts say “it would take a number of years for Turkey to get to a weapon, unless Mr. Erdogan bought one,” (New York Times, 2019). Most experts also believe it would be nearly impossible for Turkey to hide the production or obtainment of the weapon if they were to take such actions. ~
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