Erdogan Cites Israel in Making a Case for Turkey’s Nuclear Weapons

  • Our Bureau
  • 09:09 AM, September 5, 2019
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Erdogan Cites Israel in Making a Case for Turkey’s Nuclear Weapons
Turkish President Erdogan: file pix

It was unacceptable for nuclear-armed states to forbid Turkey from obtaining nuclear weapons, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said without specifying if his country would 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 yesterday, local media reported.

Erdogan hinted that he wanted parity with Israel in terms of nuclear weapons."We have Israel nearby, as almost neighbours. They scare (other nations) by possessing these (nuclear weapons). None can touch them."

Israel neither confirms nor denies the existence of its nuclear weapons program.

"There is no developed nation in the world that doesn't have nuclear weapons," Erdogan continued. He also referred to one of his visits to a former president of a country he did not name who sought to make more nuclear missiles, as many as the U.S. and Russia.

Erdogan Cites Israel in Making a Case for Turkey’s Nuclear Weapons
Indian Prithvi II nuclear-capable missile: Image for reference only

"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 quoted the unnamed president as saying.

Editor’s Note: The Turkish President’s mention of nuclear weapons may have something to do with his visit to Russia last week where he and President Putin discussed increased military cooperation.

The US pull-out from the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and the subsequent announcement of Russia and the US of intensification of their long range missile program may have caused a rethink by Turkey regarding its position on nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.