Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says it’s unacceptable for his country not to have nuclear weapons because “there is no developed nation in the world that doesn’t have them.” When addressing his AK Party members on Turkey and nuclear weapons this week, Erdogan also mentioned Israel, which has neither confirmed nor denied having them.
Twisted claims from Turkey on nuclear weapons
According to Reuters, he told his party members on Wednesday that nuclear-armed states should not be able to tell Turkey not to obtain nuclear weapons of its own. However, he stopped short of saying if Turkey had any plans to get some. He said he can’t accept that countries which have “missiles with nuclear warheads, not one or two,” are telling Ankara it can’t have any.
He also declared that “there is no developed nation in the world that doesn’t have them.” However, Reuters added that many developed countries actually don’t have any nuclear weapons.
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Erdogan also brought up Israel, which is close to Turkey. He said Israelis “scare [other nations] by possessing these” and that “no one can touch them.” However, Israel has an ambiguity policy when it comes to nuclear weapons. Foreign analysts believe Israel has a large arsenal of nuclear weapons numbering in the dozens to the hundreds, but the nation refuses to confirm or deny those reports.
Experts on non-proliferation told The Independent that it would be expensive and difficult for Turkey to develop nuclear weapons. It would also require Ankara to break its treaty commitments, which might trigger sanctions from some of its key trading partners in Europe. Experts also believe pursuing nuclear weapons could also anger Russia and the U.S.
Treaties, sanctions and Iran
Ankara signed the 1980 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. International treaties allow only the U.S., the U.K., China, France and Russia to have a nuclear arsenal. Pakistan, India and North Korea later developed nuclear weapons, according to The Times of Israel. South Africa once had atomic bonds, but it dismantled them after it became a democracy.
The Times also reports that Iran is believed to be trying to obtain nuclear weapons. Earlier this week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said again that they would move further away from the 2015 nuclear accord and speed up their development of nuclear weapons if Europe did not offer a solution to oil sanctions.
Later he said that starting today, Tehran’s atomic agency would begin researching and developing “all kinds” of centrifuges capable of enriching uranium more quickly. He added that their nuclear activities would remain “peaceful” and under the watchful eyes of the United Nations. The nuclear deal restricts Iran to operating 5,060 older centrifuges and testing no more than 30 of the newer models eight and a half years into the deal.