Exclusive: As the world nervously assesses North Korea’s claims about having a hydrogen bomb, another danger point is in Turkey where an erratic leader could seize NATO’s H-Bombs, warns Jonathan Marshall.
Even in this contentious era, one proposition still enjoys near-universal support: the United States should make it the highest priority to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of hostile states.
It’s far too late to stop North Korea from getting the Bomb, despite all the militant rhetoric coming out of Washington. But we still have a chance to prevent an erratic Middle East strongman from holding the United States hostage by threatening to seize dozens of deadly hydrogen bombs.
I’m referring, of course, to Turkish President Recep Erdogan.
As I warned more than a year ago, he controls overall access to NATO’s largest nuclear storage facility — a stockpile of some 50 B-61 hydrogen bombs at Incirlik air base in southeastern Turkey. Each weapon has a yield of up to 170 kilotons, nearly 12 times greater than the atomic bomb that wiped out Hiroshima in 1945.
The bombs are a holdover from the Cold War, with no current strategic rationale. They represent a growing risk to U.S. security, not a safe deterrent.
As Erdogan’s relations with the United States and Western Europe go from bad to worse, the case for withdrawing those weapons of mass destruction from his reach grows ever more urgent.
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