The Risk of NATO’s H-Bombs in Turkey

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.

By 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.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses citizens in front of his residence in Istanbul on July 19, 2016. (Photo from official website of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey)

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.

“It is the worst place possible to be keeping nuclear weapons,” said Joseph Cirincione, a nuclear arms control expert and president of the Ploughshares Fund. Citing the relocation of American families from the air base as U.S.-Turkish tensions have grown, he asked rhetorically, “it is not safe for our military spouses and children, but it is OK for 50 hydrogen bombs to be there?”

His concerns were recently echoed by a “former senior NATO official” who agreed the weapons “should be removed given the instability, both in the country and across the border in Syria and Iraq.”

Growing Tensions

Although the United States and Turkey are technically NATO allies — and Turkey still allows the U.S. Air Force to conduct bombing raids into Syria and Iraq from Incirlik — there’s growing friction between them.

An aerial view of the airfield at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, Nov. 1987. (Photo from the Department of Defense)

Just the other day, Erdogan blasted the U.S. judicial system as “scandalous” following reports of new indictments against members of his armed security detail who brutally attacked peaceful pro-Kurdish demonstrators outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington last spring. More than a dozen Turkish security officials have been charged since that melee was caught on video.

Erdogan has also bitterly attacked Washington for supporting Kurdish rebels in Syria, whom he regards as supporters of the banned Kurdistan Worker’s Party. As a sign of his anger, Turkish-led forces have directed fire at U.S. allies in Syria, and Ankara recently published the location of U.S. Special Forces in that country, putting them at risk and triggering a Pentagon protest.

Showing no deference toward his allies, Erdogan has jailed an American pastor, a French journalist, and at least a dozen German citizens on apparently trumped up political charges, despite pleas by senior government officials from those NATO countries. An angry German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said Berlin needs to “react decisively” against Turkey’s violation of its citizens’ rights, and “rethink” its relations with Ankara.

As international human rights groups point out, those Westerners represent only a tiny percentage of the victims of Erdogan’s authoritarian crackdown since the failed military coup against his regime in 2016. Under the ongoing state of emergency that Erdogan imposed, authorities have opened criminal investigations against more than 150,000 people accused of supporting the coup.

“As a result of the crackdown, some 50,000 people languish in jail,” writes John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s European director. “Among them are at least 130 journalists, the highest number of any country in the world. More than 100,000 public sector workers, including a quarter of the judiciary, have been arbitrarily dismissed . . . and hundreds of academics were cast out of their jobs.”

Erdogan has warned that the state of emergency may be extended several more years. He also vowed to show no mercy to his enemies: “First, we will chop off the heads of those traitors. When they appear in court, let’s make them appear in orange suits like in Guantanamo Bay.”

Washington’s Ambivalence

Such authoritarian outbursts are deeply embarrassing to NATO, which professes democratic values. Left to his own devices, President Trump would likely ignore Ankara’s transgressions, out of gratitude for Erdogan overseeing the launch of Trump Towers in Istanbul in 2012. But the special prosecutor’s investigation of Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for failing to register as a lobbyist for the Turkish government last year, has undoubtedly forced Trump to keep greater distance from Erdogan.

President Trump and Vice President Pence on July 19, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

As a result, Trump’s attitude toward Turkey — as with so many issues — appears conflicted. In a recent snub, the Pentagon refused Ankara’s request to send personnel to train Turkish F-16 pilots, to replace the several hundred fighter pilots dismissed in the wake of last year’s coup attempt.

On the other hand, Washington seems committed to using Incirlik as its primary base from which to carry out air strikes in Syria and Iraq. According to Stars and Stripes, the Pentagon wants to spend about $26 million to house 216 more U.S. airmen at the base. (It also plans to spend another $6.4 million to support a missile defense radar site in Eastern Turkey.)

The good news is that the additional airmen aren’t pilots, but Air Force security personnel, charged with improving base security. If that’s a first step toward safeguarding NATO’s hydrogen bomb stockpile, we should all applaud.

But 216 men can’t stop the Turkish army from seizing those weapons if Erdogan ever decides he wants to hold NATO hostage or turn Turkey into a regional superpower. There’s only one truly secure solution to this growing nuclear peril — total redeployment of these weapons back to the United States.

Jonathan Marshall is a regular contributor to


71 comments for “The Risk of NATO’s H-Bombs in Turkey

  1. Bernie
    September 7, 2017 at 09:47

    I thought as a result of the Cuban missile crisis, the US agreed to remove nukes from Turkey. What happened?

  2. September 6, 2017 at 00:13

    Next question:
    In how many countries has the U.S. placed nuclear weapons — where they might be seized after some regime shift?
    And, how many of our beloved and trusted allies might be subtly blackmailing our government with the possibility of seizure of our nuclear weapons?

  3. Turkish commentator
    September 5, 2017 at 17:41

    As it seems from these such pieces of journalism, there is a perfect consensus between the Turkish people, and Americans regarding stockpiling H-bombs within Turkey and the use of Turkish bases (not only Incirlik ! as many people falsely believes) to support terror groups (ypg) to attack other terror groups (is).
    As Turkish people made protests around the base many times and in Ankara, ?stanbul etc, and there are loudening discontent of politicians about the use of bases, I can not see why there is no progress in this issue ?
    As you have perfectly established, our poor, muslim, problemmatic, unstable country with a leader such disliked is not the proper place to store any post ww2 or any other nuclear junk.
    I am genuinely curious why american senators doesn’t bring this huge national security concern up to the spot ?
    Now there is CIA whose job is to collect and evaluate such information, there are specialists for every region and of course for Turkey. What would be the reason that this huge security hole remains in the blindspot of such people ?

  4. Patricia Victour
    September 5, 2017 at 10:00

    If we bring the nukes back to the US, just where will we put them? Apparently they are not “state-of-the-art” nukes and will need to be “stored” somewhere. Please don’t bring them to New Mexico – we are already a nuclear sacrifice zone.

    • SteveK9
      September 7, 2017 at 09:17

      Patricia, we have around 10,000 nukes in the country now. It seems you have some typical uninformed ideas about radiation. Find a Scientist that knows something (e.g. actually has a PhD in Physics) and learn a bit more, and you can relax … at least in terms of radioactivity … nuclear war is another matter.

  5. Mabel Johnson
    September 5, 2017 at 08:53

    The things is any country with nukes might use them. Right now, America is threatening to use them against North Korea. I say no nukes for any country, but the genie is out of the bottle.

  6. rosemerry
    September 4, 2017 at 16:39

    “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.” I assume you mean the US population, whose MSM are showing every day their refusal to allow “news” that does not fit the official story.
    Most of the world (even those polled in NATO countries”)would definitely not trust the USA to decide its own use of nukes and who else should use them. It is the USA which decided to place nukes in Turkey, as well as in Belgium, Germany (the people do NOT want them) the Netherlands and Italy. How can that make any of us safe against the “wicked Russkies” or anyone else? They are targets, not protection.

    • mike k
      September 4, 2017 at 21:16

      Nuclear weapons embody America’s death wish.

  7. Adrian Engler
    September 4, 2017 at 12:58

    The connection between NATO and democratic values is rather weak. Greece and Portugal were NATO members when they were dictatorships (Spain under Franco was not invited to join because his collaboration with Hitler was seen as too problematic, but it was still a close US ally in the Cold War).

  8. September 4, 2017 at 11:05

    Article worth reading at link below:
    Korea Crisis Exposes Orwellian West
    By Finian Cunningham
    September 02, 2017 “Information Clearing House”…

  9. Brad Owen
    September 4, 2017 at 06:38

    I would have thought it a bit early for Synarchy Internationale and Cecil Rhodes RoundTable Group, along with their Inter-Alpha Group banking cartel (including their Wall Street assets-for-Global Empire), to be pushing for the retrieval of Constantinople and Anatolia Province (probably along the lines of “save the Kurds-defeat the madman”), all in their efforts to recreate a modern, fascistic, neo-feudal Holy Roman Empire. From EIR search box: “Return of the Monarchs”; “Synarchy against America”; “Inter-Alpha Group”; “Cecil Rhodes”. This all is of great concern to the Old World Oligarchs of the West who are striving to secure their position and revive another Empire of Rome from the Urals to the sea, but NONE of this is in the interests of USA nor any New World Nation. It is Wall Street that is our enemy, who uses us for Old World purposes, just so they can have a governing seat at the RoundTable. We had best withdraw to the North American Continent, renouncing our thousand over-seas bases for Empire, and tend to our, and our neighbors’, General Welfare, and prepare to repel the onslaught of the New Holy Roman Empire

  10. padre
    September 4, 2017 at 05:58

    It doesn’t matter, actually, as John Lennon said, thea all crazy!For me it does notamkeany difference, who will drop the bomb!And, by the way, I don’t know, who is crazier, Trump (or Hillary, for that matter), or Erdogan!

  11. George Hoffman
    September 4, 2017 at 04:25

    Erdogan has clearly gone bonkers. He recently stated he will pulp science books which teach the Darwinian theory of evolution in all high schools in Turkey and replace them.

    • delaxo
      September 4, 2017 at 05:40

      Is that so?
      Tell us more!
      With reference if you may, not hearsay…

    • rosemerry
      September 4, 2017 at 16:45

      Sounds just like Texas, and it produces the textbooks for the whole country.

  12. Realist
    September 4, 2017 at 02:10

    Whether we continue to keep nukes in Turkey or not, we would never admit to their removal. Such an action would further alienate Erdogon’s regime from NATO, very possibly causing it to withdraw from the organization with the loss of enormous face for the American hegemon. After all, from a trade prospective, they are better off dealing with Russia.

    As someone suggested, the “nuclear bombs” may well have been quietly removed long ago. Certainly the triggers and fissile cores (the key element) are in no proximity to one another. I don’t know how sophisticated the Turkish high tech community is and how soon they could create their own triggers if they had access to the enriched uranium or plutonium cores. But, if North Korea has been able to do it in the face of monumental sanctions and isolation, the Turks would eventually get there. Wasn’t the “father” of the Pakistani bomb out for hire? Didn’t he assist North Korea, along with the Ukies who sold them rocket engines for their missiles? I remember being taught the general principles to build an atomic bomb back in high school in 1961. The electronics have simply gotten more sophisticated and miniaturized during the interim. Nothing that Turkish graduate students trained at IIT or Georgia Tech couldn’t handle.

    How did Israel acquire its first bombs? Everyone assumes they stole them from American stockpiles. (Probably with the U.S. looking the other way.) Just think how paranoid Nethanyahoo would become if he thought that Erdogan had the bomb? Interesting times in spades. The key question would become, can they wipe each other out without poisoning the entire planet?

    • Gregory Herr
      September 4, 2017 at 11:55

      Turkey is better off dealing with Russia from a trade perspective…and from a trust perspective. Erdogon can at least depend on the Russians not instigating coups or being duplicitous in their designs. They also seem to be more adept at diplomatic efforts not marred by peremptory attitude or exclusion.

  13. September 3, 2017 at 19:37

    I believe the biggest “risk” to us all is NATO and its “allies” that seem determined to start a nuclear war by encircling Russia.
    [Read more at link below]
    February 10, 2017
    “Will the War Agenda of the War Criminals Result in Nuclear War?”

    • QS
      September 4, 2017 at 03:40

      Amen, Stephen J., Amen. I’m much more concerned about NATO’s encirclement of Russia than Erdogan’s seizure of US nuclear weapons. Erdogan’s madness, too, is overstated IMO. Yes, he’s megalomaniac, but I don’t see him nuking any of Turkey’s neighbors, even if Turkey had nuclear weapons. Think about it: Israel (except for the United States) is the craziest, most bloodthirsty nation on earth. And yet, even Israel hasn’t – yet – used its nuclear weapons against its perceived arch-nemesis Iran, a non-nuclear power. Why? Because Israel knows that Iran would still be able to retaliate and wreak tremendous havoc on Israel with its conventional missiles.

  14. DocHollywood
    September 3, 2017 at 19:23

    A pretty good article by Mr. Marshall overall, but his terminology and phrasing are off the mark:

    “Erdogan has warned that the state of emergency may be extended several more years. He also vowed to show no mercy to his enemies: “First, we will chop off the heads of those traitors. When they appear in court, let’s make them appear in orange suits like in Guantanamo Bay.

    Such authoritarian outbursts are deeply embarrassing to NATO, which professes democratic values.”

    It would still be “deeply embarrassing to NATO” if Erdogan professed “democratic values” at the same time he was imprisoning and torturing men in an offshore prison without charge or trial while labeling those he intends to kill – and those poor souls nearby – terrorists™ instead of “traitors” as he slaughtered them with drone missiles instead of head chops.

    The “embarrassment” doesn’t derive from Erdogan’s “authoritarian outbursts,” but from the rank hypocrisy of his nominal allies. There would be much less cause for “embarrassment” if the other NATO members – especially the one running the cartel – weren’t continuously violating the “democratic values” they “profess.” “Deeply embarrassing” is too much of an understatement: the hypocrisy of the NATO countries laid bare by Erdogan’s “outbursts” is genuinely despicable.

    • Gregory Herr
      September 4, 2017 at 11:42

      Yep, the hypocricisy is what should be truly embarrassing.

  15. Antonia
    September 3, 2017 at 18:35

    At might be wrong but blue may correct me. I thought NATO had already removed those weapons after the coup.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 3, 2017 at 19:30

      That would make sense.

  16. Zachary Smith
    September 3, 2017 at 18:19

    However, Trump has apparently deliberately tried to find the LEAST qualified person for each appointment he makes!

    I can think of only a couple of reasons for this. One might be a version of what Pope Leo X said: “Since God has given us the papacy, let us enjoy it.”

    Another could be Trump’s ignorant right-wing hatred of government except when it is helping him in some way. Destroy the government. Dismantle it. Appoint people who will do this with enthusiasm.

    Then again, it could be some version of the two of them.

    The blogger at Syrian Perspective attributes Trump’s activities to his general incompetence. Or at least that’s what I think he believes.

    And how many crises can Trump handle? We are watching the U.S. prove, once again, that Americans cannot learn from history. Trump is actually sending more forces to Afghanistan to “beef up” American firepower without consulting Congress. He is challenging China in its own sphere of influence. He is moving toward confrontation with North Korea. He is actively trying to overthrow the government in Caracas while not consulting Congress, again. He is imposing more sanctions on Russia, Syria, Venezuela and North Korea. He is despised by all allied leaders from Macron to Merkel. He is universally viewed as a kook in every capital. There is open discussion about impeaching him or removing him from office for reasons of incapacity pursuant to Article XXV of the U.S. Constitution And he’s been in office for only 7 months!

    Witness the almost surreal American diplomatic effort to bring peace between the Palestinians and their Khazar adversaries. Who does Trump send? Why, a fella named Kushner, a fella named Greenblatt, and a fella named Friedman. All orthodox Jews to settle a case neutrally. This defies all reason. Why would you send 3, I repeat 3, orthodox Jews to Palestine to help Arabs resolve their conflict with orthodox Jews? This is a world out of balance. The Hopi word is, as I have written before, “Koyaanisqatsi”. Why it’s like sending George Lincoln Rockwell to mediate at Charlottesville!!

    It’s a mess.

  17. ranney
    September 3, 2017 at 18:01

    When I saw what this article was about I thought “Oh God, another thing to worry about, and lose sleep over”. The list gets longer by the week. The fact is that there are too many things to worry about and we can’t go out and make signs and protest them all, or even think about all of them or we’ll go mad. That is one reason, it recently occurred to me, why we need to have a president who appoints intelligent, knowledgeable people to cabinet positions etc. people who actually understand the problems and what’s at stake.
    Most presidents aren’t perfect at this, but most of them try to make intelligent choices. However, Trump has apparently deliberately tried to find the LEAST qualified person for each appointment he makes! This is weird and now becoming seriously frightening. Just yesterday Trump put forward a congressman for the position of head of NASA who doesn’t believe in science or global warming. etc. and has no science background. That is just one (the most recent) example of what I’m talking about. Virtually every appointment Trump has made has been this stupid. As citizens we can’t worry about everything – and I can assure readers that in each case there is a lot more to worry about than what we see on the surface. My son is a physicist who works for a military/industrial company developing things for them. He would know dozens of things to worry about that I can’t even guess at. To put someone in charge of all that who has no comprehension of what is involved is insanity.
    This is why, when we vote for president or Senator or congressman or Governor or really ANY public office it’s important to consider the sanity of the person regardless of party because one of his jobs is to make appointments. We all know the dangers of Supreme court appointments, but we forget that other appointments also have serious consequences if they are not thought through intelligently.
    I hope Robert Parry will either write an article about this or find a writer who will do it. I think, if we saw an article showing ALL the major appointments Trump has made and the qualifications or lack of each one, we would all be dumbfounded.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 3, 2017 at 19:25

      Everything you said ranny makes sense. For a longtime now I have thought that it should be required of our presidential candidates to make known just exactly who will be in their Cabinet if elected. Instead, for some reason, we Americans get presidential candidates who bluster, and make promises they’ll break, a common campaign platform tradition of nonsense. So what do we Americans do with these lying politicians? We reelect them to have them lie to us for another four years.

  18. September 3, 2017 at 17:57

    The question of “risk” that really needs to be asked is, “Why are NATO and its allies reportedly helping terrorists? Or does nobody care?
    There is evidence that NATO “allies” were planning a number of wars. See link below for more info:
    “The Evidence of the Planning of Wars…”

  19. Bill
    September 3, 2017 at 17:10

    I doubt those 50 nukes are usable. The cores will still be in the US.

  20. delaxo
    September 3, 2017 at 16:48

    It is certain that Erdogan wants to seize those H-bombs and teach a lesson to Germany and whoever else he dislikes.
    Because as we all know he is a lunatic, like all the bad guys who dare to disobey Washington…

    • Blue
      September 3, 2017 at 16:56

      Nonsense! Erdogan is pissed at Washington for supporting his former ally and current terrorist Gülen, who was most likely responsible for the coup attempt with US backing.

      Gülen is protected in the US, and has been allowed to remain there with the blessing of the CIA. He won’t be extradicted to Turkey because his group is basically an a tool of US intelligence.

  21. September 3, 2017 at 16:37

    Is NATO helping Terrorists?
    “Elements of al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups were known to be key players in the NATO-backed uprising in Libya from the beginning, but now it appears that prominent Jihadists and terrorists are practically leading the revolution with Western support.”
    The New American August 30, 2011.

  22. John
    September 3, 2017 at 16:23


    This is a minor problem. If those nukes have PAL’s (Permissive Action Links) then no one can do anything with them other than extract the radioisotope from them. If they do not have PAL’s then they need to be replaced with more modern nukes that do.

    • Zachary Smith
      September 3, 2017 at 16:50

      With Google totally in bed with the Deep State I don’t dare make searches. But I can speculate, and in my quite uninformed opinion a competent group of native and “hired foreigner” weapon designers could strip off those PALs and replace them with their own devices.

      Even if that’s not true, removing the fissiles to use in their own designs would not equate to a “minor problem” for me.

      • Paranam Kid
        September 4, 2017 at 04:39

        You don’t need to use Google, DuckDuckGo is a good alternative, and if used in combination with a secure VPN, then you can hit that home run.

      • John
        September 4, 2017 at 20:32


        Turkey has a nuclear program. All Turkey needs to do to acquire plutonium is put some uranium into some hot cells in their reactor. Stealing plutonium from American nukes would be stupid-a sure fire way to get their nuclear program shut down, possibly via bombing their reactor like Israel did to Iraq and later to Syria. It is far easier to shut down a nuclear program in its infancy than to do so twenty to thirty years later (ie. North Korea). Designs will likely be dead by the time Turkey becomes capable of detonating plutonium (it Isn’t easy to do). As for replacing our PAL detonation system you have to solve the geometry and timing problems involved in imploding the plutonium to a high enough density to get a nuclear yield before you can do this. This typically takes decades (ie. North Korea). All of the fission components of our nukes are plutonium based, even the pits used to detonate our hydrogen bombs. I’m not particularly worried about Turkey acquiring plutonium. Everyone else seems to have it anyway.

        • John
          September 4, 2017 at 20:36

          Replace “Designs will likely be dead…” above with “Erdogen will likely be dead…” above. I keep shutting down the spelling corrector on this device but it keeps turning itself back on. Sorry about that.

  23. September 3, 2017 at 16:03

    And still more Info on NATO, funded by our Tax Dollars at link below:
    December 3, 2015
    “Is NATO a Gang of Turkeys?”

    • September 4, 2017 at 13:12

      Not Nikki and Samantha?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?

  24. September 3, 2017 at 15:49

    Much more info on NATO and some of its treacherous “allies” at link below:
    May 13, 2017
    “The War Gangs and War Criminals of NATO to Meet in Brussels”

  25. September 3, 2017 at 15:45

    NATO and its War Gangs are reportedly all in bed together, See info below:
    “Lest we forget, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, have been financing and training the ISIL terrorists on behalf of the United States. Israel is harbouring the Islamic State in the Golan Heights, NATO in liaison with the Turkish high command has since March 2011 been involved in coordinating the recruitment of the jihadist fighters dispatched to Syria. Moreover, the ISIL brigades are integrated by Western special forces and military advisers….” Prof Michael Chossudovsky
    Global Research, September 25, 2014.

  26. exiled off mainstreet
    September 3, 2017 at 15:35

    Though he is a loose cannon, it might actually be better if Erdogan separated himself from the yankee ship and took an independent line less unfriendly to Russia and Iran. Though the yankee legal system may be correct in charging the Turkish thugs, they were in the employ of the Turkish regime, so a sort of diplomatic immunity might be implied. Meanwhile, the yankee legal system sets a benchmark for corruption and extra-legality which almost puts it beyond the pale of the rule of law. Despite these caveats, I agree that the nukes ought to be removed before they create a potential war situation if in a hypothetical Erdogan demands full departure of the yankee forces sans nukes.

  27. mike k
    September 3, 2017 at 14:29

    With friends like Turkey, who needs enemies?

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 3, 2017 at 16:04

      Let’s hope the U.S. doesn’t relocate the nukes in the homeland of our other good friend Israel.

      • Blue
        September 3, 2017 at 16:46

        Why would that be an issue. ?srael already has some 200 of them?

        • Joe Tedesky
          September 3, 2017 at 19:12

          I guess I fail at being humorous.

      • Zachary Smith
        September 3, 2017 at 16:52

        Giving Israel a nuclear weapon would be a round-about way of giving them permission to use them, IMO.

        • Blue
          September 3, 2017 at 16:57

          Israel already has nuclear weapons. What planet do you live on?

    • Blue
      September 3, 2017 at 16:59

      With friends like the US, …. Actually, the US is no ones friend. The US is the nazi Germany of the 21st century, not to mention the latter have of the 20th.

      • mike k
        September 4, 2017 at 07:39


        • Ol' Hippy
          September 4, 2017 at 12:30

          When I point out that our 21st century’s build up of military, both here and abroad looks remarkably like old pictures from the 20’s and 30’s, some get it, most don’t. It’s truly frightening.

          • Pierre Anonymot
            September 4, 2017 at 19:19

            If you want an extraordinary, non-fiction page-turner of where we are and where we’re going, read Sebastian Haffner’s memoir, DEFYING HITLER.

    • September 5, 2017 at 00:21

      What about Israel… Do you think Turkey is more of s threat than Israel…???

      • September 5, 2017 at 18:55

        The “Samson Option” holds Europe Hostage.

    • Nemesis.
      September 6, 2017 at 17:04


  28. September 3, 2017 at 13:40

    Erdogan is as much a threat to stability in the MidEast(and Europe) as Netanyahu and his Saudi friends. He was largely responsible for instigating the invasion of radical Islam elements into Syria. This was well documented by RT America(ignored by msm) in several videos and independent analysis from authoritative American sources, some of which are available as links on a post I did around the time of the downing of a Russian jet over Syria. Note: his son was directly involved in kickbacks from an ISIS scheme to refine oil from their occupation of Syrian territory. The nuclear weapons add yet another dimension to his duplicitous threats. Thank you Jonathan Marshall for calling our attention to this serious issue.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      September 3, 2017 at 15:41

      He probably did these acts largely at the behest of the yankee imperium though he may have been inclined to do them anyway. Now that he is no longer an ally of the yankees and is going along with the other side, he seems to have changed his tune now that the yankee link with the Kurds has become central to their policies. This is probably why things have improved in Syria: blowback from the yankee attempt to sideline Erdogan causing him to change his tune to one less negative. I agree that he is a double-dealing dangerous scoundrel but one who, in backing his best interests may follow a less negative policy in Syria.

    • Blue
      September 3, 2017 at 16:51

      The biggest threat to stability in the ME and globally is the US, obviously. I live in Turkey, and do not believe anyone, Erdogan included, is eyeing those nuclear weapons. Still, it would be nice to be rid of them.

      • Ol' Hippy
        September 4, 2017 at 12:24

        Certainly, believing anything any government says is folly. Also, to rid the planet of nukes, how in the hell could anyone be trusted given the circumstances? No one seems to have a clue on Israels stockpile, or it’s still a closely guarded secret. But due to Turkey’s growing hostility towards some of the US’s supposedly allies, ridding the nukes from Turkey is a good idea.

        • September 4, 2017 at 22:32

          Yes indeed, Ol” Hippy…Israel’s nukes are somehow sanctified by a rabbi’s incantations!

        • SteveK9
          September 7, 2017 at 09:08

          There are plenty of ‘clues’ … about 150 bombs is a common estimate.

  29. Hititian
    September 3, 2017 at 13:38

    There is only one way to make US and Russia give up their nuclear arsenal and make the World nuclear free: many more nations armed with nuclear weapons, so that holding these weapons can not be used as thread against no one.

    In this respect, N Korea’s H-Bomb test is a step in this direction, and I doubt deserves a condemnation. Turkey and Iran also will have it inevitably, as they have capacity to do so. We will see then the World becoming more serious on banning them. Especially the self-“privileged” nations.

    • Zachary Smith
      September 3, 2017 at 16:17

      There is only one way to make US and Russia give up their nuclear arsenal and make the World nuclear free: many more nations armed with nuclear weapons, so that holding these weapons can not be used as thread against no one.

      No. No. No.

      This is an international equivalent of the NRA’s reasoning.

      “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said.

      LaPierre is certifiably insane, and so is the theory. Those US weapons in Turkey are liable to be STOLEN. Just like that creep in Newtown stole his mother’s gun, killed her, then went on to murder 26 people at the elementary school. The more guns there are, the easier access fruitcakes and other criminals have to them. The same is true for nuclear weapons. If Malawi or Belize get nuclear weapons, the world will NOT be safer. The weapons will be an eternal temptation for buyers and sellers alike. Not to mention the insane people with access in such fourth-rate nations. Wealthy individuals and small corporations could and would obtain them. The “social and business uses” of nukes – sounds like a nice Ph.D. thesis title.

      Back in 1969 John Brunner published a SF novel titled “The Jagged Orbit”. I don’t know if the man was a nutty Libertarian or merely acting like one when he wrote the story, but it had some impossible premises. Imagine a society like this:

      “The Gottschalks aren’t government contractors, they’re catering for the domestic market. So what? Right this minute, if your credit rating is good, you can walk down the street to an arms store and buy a bandolier of micronukes, and those would be enough to clear the average city block.

      Needless to say, I’ve discarded every thing written by this author except for two short stories. Imagine the NRA pushing micronukes…..

      The world cannot get rid of nuclear weapons – that genie is out of the box. But all the weapons could be put under central control at the world level. Anybody who had hidden a few would be subject to crushing retaliation from some equivalent of a UN Military Force.

      • mike k
        September 4, 2017 at 07:36

        I disagree with the premise, “the world cannot get rid of nuclear weapons.”

        A fraction of the money required to maintain and upgrade these weapons and their delivery systems would suffice to put in place a watertight inspections system that would render cheating impossible. In concert with this we could implement a ban on mining and enriching uranium for any use whatever, including for energy production or medical uses. These Applications are just too dangerous and unnecessary to continue. The only thing lacking to accomplish these things is the will to do them. Russia has repeatedly offered to sit down and agree to reduce the USA and it’s own nuclear stockpiles. We continue to refuse to do this. The desire of the US to rule the world is at the heart of this refusal. The nuclear genie can be and should be put back in it’s bottle beneath the surface of our planet – the sooner the better, before we destroy our species with it.

        • SteveK9
          September 7, 2017 at 09:04

          Whether we can get rid of them or not, I do think we can substantially reduce their number. We were on that sensible path, but have gotten off it. Perhaps the situation with N. Korea will get enough people to think about this again, and push our leaders back in that direction. Right now, Obama has set us on a course to spend a trillion dollars to ‘upgrade’ our nuclear arsenal. Arms reduction talks between the US and Russia sounds old-fashioned, but it is still a very good idea.

  30. Zachary Smith
    September 3, 2017 at 12:51

    Mr. Marshall mentions the attempted military coup three times, but avoids speaking of Erdogan’s biggest gripe about it – that the US was almost certainly supporting it. In my opinion that’s an even more important reason to get those nukes out of Turkey as soon as possible. It’s a grievance Erdogan sees as a legitimate one, and unfortunately he is probably correct in believing that.

    I’m sure the weapons are unusable in the short term, but Turkey’s seizure of them would mean they’d quickly have the know-how to build copies. Or to sell the photographs of the layout of the things. Longer term, they could probably be made operational again, one way or another.

    So I agree – move the things out of Turkey, pronto.

    • Sam F
      September 3, 2017 at 16:53

      The issue of nuclear weapons stored at Incirlik came up right after the coup attempt by the US. The weapons were stored in a vault in a deactivated state, no doubt with necessary parts stored elsewhere. No effort at removing them was reported through the coup crisis, so it seems likely that either critical parts or the entirety were moved elsewhere, or that the ability of others to use them or reverse engineer new designs is very low.

      There is also the complex question of who are the “we” to be protected, given our neo-totalitarian government starting wars around the world, and the large US coup conspiracy against which Turkey was simply defending itself. Returning all nukes to the US seems sensible on general principles, but so does the development of strategic deterrence by the targets of US warmongers. It is not clear that their falling into the hands of Turkey or even Iran would be more destabilizing than any typical year of US misconduct.

    • Blue
      September 3, 2017 at 17:01

      True, he doesn’t mention the real sticking point, the US support and probable instigation of the coup attempt through the Gulen organization.

    • Pierre Anonymot
      September 4, 2017 at 20:02

      The comments are off the wall! Sure, just fly in 25 big planes, chuck the bombs in them, fly the Atlantic and overfly America to Oklahoma or Utah or some such remote place and dig a hole then dump them in.

      You apparently haven’t a clue of what’s involved politically, timewise, in relation to public safety, etc. Nowhere that is truly safe would accept them. Erdogan might seize them once he knows what you’re doing. Etc.

      The American Generals who looked at a map and decided that Turkey should be in NATO understood nothing about Middle Eastern politics or about Turkey. They considered geography not consequences.

      The politicians who developed the EU beyond the original members operated strictly on the belief that the bigger the group is the more power the EU leaders had and the more envelopes there would be passed under the table. Today, one of the greatest proponents of that system and one of its greatest beneficiaries, Angela Merkel, announced that Turkey’s application for full EU membership should be dropped from further consideration. I’ve lived in Europe enough to know that no one who would not get any power or envelopes from the EU has ever considered Turkey’s membership even a half-intelligent idea.

      Our leaders, military and politicalare not trained to understand Others, but to decide what they want in a childlike way and jump off the roof flapping their arms thinking their idea will fly because it’s THEIR idea. That’s not the way the world works. And we are about to eat the poisonous pudding they’ve cooked up.


      • Patricia Victour
        September 5, 2017 at 09:57

        Just “dig a hole and dump them in?” Not that simple. You are apparently unfamiliar with the problems ongoing for several years at the WIPP nuclear waste “hole” in southern New Mexico. Dealing with tons of nuclear waste from our aging arsenal, and from Los Alamos National Labs, et al., is a huge problem that is not being addressed – and probably cannot be, safely. I’m tired of my beloved state, New Mexico, being used as a nuclear sacrifice zone, and I don’t wish it on any other states you apparently consider expendable.

      • SteveK9
        September 7, 2017 at 08:59

        What seems ‘off the wall’ is that you are saying it is impossible for the US to remove its own H-bombs from Turkey. Why would that be the case? We announce or we don’t announce that we are transferring these weapons back to the US, and then do it. Do you think Erdogan would send his army to prevent it? And, start a war with the US? I very much doubt it. It might precipitate Turkish withdrawal from NATO and the closing of Incirlik, but frankly I don’t think Turkey’s NATO membership means much these days, so I would not care.

        Dig a hole?? These would either be dismantled or stored, … why would we bury them?

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