US Moves Its Tactical Nuclear Weapons from Turkey

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The US has started to move nuclear weapons, stationed in Turkey, to Romania, in connection with deteriorating relations between Washington and Ankara.

US Moves Its Tactical Nuclear Weapons from Turkey

The Deveselu military base (Photo: AFP 2016 / Daniel Mihailescu)

Against the background of deteriorating relations between Washington and Ankara, the US has started to transfer nuclear weapons, stored in Turkey, to Romania, the EurActiv information website reported on Thursday, citing independent sources.

According to one of the sources, the operation is very complicated technically and politically.

As a recent Simons Center’s report revealed, about 50 units of US tactical nuclear weapons have been placed at the Incirlik air base in Turkey, about 100 km from the Syrian border, since the Cold War.

After the July’s coup attempt in the country, the Turkish government prohibited the flights of US aircraft to the base and out of it and then arrested a base commander for his involvement in the coup attempt. The report asked, whether the US would be able to maintain control of these weapons in the case of a prolonged civil conflict in Turkey, and did not give the answer on this question.

Another source said that the US-Turkey relations have deteriorated so much after the coup attempt that Washington no longer trusts Ankara to keep nuclear weapons. According to the source, the weapons are transferring to the Deveselu Romanian military base.

EurActiv noted that the Deveselu base is a placement of a new US missile shield, which causes great discontent of Russia.

The information appeared along with messages about the possible use of the Incirlik air base by the Russian Aerospace Forces for carrying out air strikes in Syria.

Meanwhile, just a day before, the civilian head of the US Air Force said that Washington does not see a need to move the nuclear weapons placed at the Turkey’s air base.

“We do have nuclear weapons and those nuclear weapons are safe and secure, and we are very confident in that,” Deborah Lee James, US Air Force Secretary, said on Wednesday, answering questions at the Foreign Press Club in New York City.

Last Wednesday, Lee James also tried to reassure reporters that tensions between Washington and Ankara will not affect the nuclear bombs.

“They obviously are our ally. We stand with them, they’re an effective air force, and Incirlik is an important location for our joint fight,” she said at the State of the Air Force briefing last week.

However, as we can see, her statements were likely not so plausible.

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