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Turkey Nato

Turkey Nato

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Arms Control Association (ACA)British American Security Information Council (BASIC)Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH)
Nuclear Policy Paper No. 5 -
Kibaroglu – Turkey, NATO & and Nuclear Sharing
page 1
Nuclear Policy Paper No. 5 April 2011
Mustafa Kibaroglu
1
 
Turkey, NATO & and Nuclear Sharing:Prospects after NATO's Lisbon Summit
 In the run-up to the Lisbon summit meeting of NATO on November 19-20, 2010, where thenew Strategic Concept of the alliance was adopted, the status of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons deployed in five European countries, namely Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey was a significant topic of debate, and remains so afterwards. Somehave suggested the speedy withdrawal of these weapons while others have endorsed their extended stay on the continent for as long as there are nuclear threats to the alliance.
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Turkey, as a host, has long been supportiveof retaining U.S. nuclear weapons on itsterritory for various reasons and alsoexpected others to continue to deploy theseweapons as part of the burden sharing andsolidarity principles of the alliance. Turkeybelieves that the presence of U.S. nuclearweapons in Europe strengthens the U.S.commitment to transatlantic security, andcontributes to the credibility of the extendeddeterrent. It therefore maintains a policythat implicitly supports deployment inTurkey, one that has remained the same fordecades, and continues under the currentJustice and Development Party (known asAKP, for its Turkish acronym) government.Whether it would survive significantchanges in the deployment of theaternuclear weapons in other NATO states ismore doubtful.This being the case for the allied countriesin general, and from Turkey’s perspective inparticular, this paper will present primarilythe views in the political, diplomatic, andmilitary circles in Turkey with respect to theprolonged deployment of the U.S. tacticalnuclear weapons on Turkish soil. Itconcludes that Turkey, preferably togetherwith other NATO members, should take theinitiative in asking the United States to drawthem down and remove them entirely, in theinterests of Turkish security and alliancecohesion.
 
page 2 Nuclear Policy Paper No. 5 -
Kibaroglu – Turkey, NATO & and Nuclear Sharing
 
Turkey’s official stance toward thepresence of U.S. nuclear weapons on itssoil
It is not the practice of NATO members todiscuss nuclear deployments in Europe;details remain classified. Even the identityof host states is a secret, so there areinevitable tensions for any politician toadmit to such deployments. But Turkey hasunique sensitivities that have preventeddiscussion even in private of its hosting of U.S. nuclear warheads. Turkey’s stance islargely unchanged since the first U.S.nuclear weapons were deployed in Turkeyin February 1959.
3
 
Profile of U.S. nuclear weapons in Turkey
By the mid-1980s, “the United States [had]store[d] some 500 nuclear warheads inTurkey, and as many as 300 of them [were]bombs for aircraft. U.S. nuclear bombs[were] stored at four airbases—Eskisehir,Murted, Erhac, and Balikesir—for use byfour Turkish Air Force units. The Turkishsquadrons consisting of nuclear-certifiedaircraft as F-104s, F-4s, and F-100s, [were]armed with four types of bombs with yieldsup to a couple of hundred kilotons. The U.S.Army also [had] nuclear weapons inTurkey, [which were] allocated for supportof the Turkish First and Third Armies.Custodian detachments at Cakmakli,Ortakoy, Corlu, Izmit, and Erzurum store[d]about 190 warheads for obsolete 1950s-vintage Turkish Army Honest John short-range missile launchers (four battalions) and32 eight-inch guns.”
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 Turkey still hosts U.S. tactical nuclearweapons on its territory, albeit in muchsmaller numbers. They are limited to onelocation, the Incirlik base near Adana on theeastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey.
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Allother nuclear weapons have been withdrawnfrom the bases mentioned above. Moreover,the Turkish Air Force no longer has anyoperational link with the remaining tacticalnuclear weapons deployed at Incirlik.
6
F-104s have not been in service since 1994. F-4s are still in service after modernization of some 54 of them by Israeli AerospaceIndustries in 1997. Yet, only the F-16“Fighting Falcons” of the Turkish Air Forceparticipate in NATO’s nuclear strikeexercises known as “Steadfast Noon,”during which crews are trained in loading,unloading and employing B61 tacticalnuclear weapons. The Turkish aircraft inthese exercises serve as a non-nuclear airdefense escort rather than a nuclear strikeforce.
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Significance of nuclear weapons for Turkey
Even in the absence of an imminent nuclearthreat to Turkey’s security, the view amongboth civilian and military Turkish securityelites does not seem to have changed sincethe Cold War. One explanation for theuniformity of their views lies in the prestigeattributed to nuclear weapons. There arespecific reasons that explain why Turkishgovernment officials and civilian andmilitary bureaucrats want to retain U.S.nuclear weapons on Turkey’s soil, first andforemost being the perceived threat from thestill uncertain international securityenvironment. Turkish government officials’views were expressed (in not-for-attributionnotes) as follows:“Nuclear weapons continue to preserve theircritical importance for the security of the[North Atlantic] alliance, yet they are
 
 
Nuclear Policy Paper No. 5 -
Kibaroglu – Turkey, NATO & and Nuclear Sharing
page 3
regarded more as political weapons. Ourcountry is committed to the vision of aworld free of nuclear weapons, and thus wesupport every effort in that direction. …Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged thatattaining such a goal will not be possibleany time soon, and that more time andpatience will be needed to realize thisobjective. Hence, so long as these weaponsdo still exist in other parts of the world, it isindispensible for NATO to preserve a safe,secure, and effective nuclear arsenal thatwill be capable of deterring all sorts of enemies in order to ensure the security of allof its allies. … [In NATO’s new StrategicConcept] our country want[ed] to see anexplicit confirmation of the commitment [of the alliance] to the preservation of aneffective and credible deterrent by way of maintaining a combination of conventionaland nuclear weapons capability. In additionto that, our determination for thepreservation of the transatlantic link andsolidarity as well as fair risk and burdensharing to continue to constitute thefundamental principles of the nuclearstrategy of the alliance will persist.”
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 The above quote emphasizes that whileTurkey supports nuclear disarmament, inthe foreseeable future it wants to maintainnuclear weapons on its soil for both securityand political reasons.
9
 
 Logic behind deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Turkey
There is, indeed, a very simple logicconnecting Turkey’s membership withinNATO and the deployment of U.S. nuclearweapons on its territory. For a long time, theTurkish political and security elite
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hasviewed Turkey’s NATO membership as apotent symbol of Turkey’s belonging to theWest and the U.S. nuclear weaponsstationed in Turkey have been seen, in thisrespect, as a symbol of Turkey’s privilegedstatus within NATO. In this context, there isan unexpressed fear that an Americandecision to withdraw nuclear weapons fromTurkey could weaken Turkey’s positionwithin the alliance, and hence undermine toan extent the attraction of NATO member-ship in the minds of many. This perspectiveremained prevalent in the higher echelons of the Turkish state mechanism throughdozens of governments formed by variouspolitical parties coming from different ideo-logical dispositions and diverse worldviewsfor half a century. It has been so even withthe AKP in power since 2002, which hasbrought a new approach to Turkish foreignpolicy making by opening many of thetaboo-like issues to public debate. The AKPgovernment has taken a series of bold andcourageous steps in Turkey’s long-established security strategies, such as theCyprus issue as well as the relations withMiddle Eastern neighbors in particular, in a-ccordance with the “zero conflict” doctrine,which is a brainchild of the current ForeignMinister Ahmed Davutoglu. Notwith-standing its reformist attitude toward manytraditional foreign policy issues of Turkey,the AKP government as well has preferredto shy away from displaying its well-knownpragmatism in the area of U.S. nuclearweapons that are stationed in Turkey.The decision to deploy nuclear weapons inTurkey was first taken at the North AtlanticCouncil meeting of the alliance during theParis summit in December 1957. At thattime, there was the right-wing and conser-vative Democratic Party (known as DP, for

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