U.S. Nukes at Turkish Airbase at Risk of Being Seized by ‘Hostile Forces,’ Report Says

http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.669671.1438761401!/image/590332886.jpg

A United States Air Force cargo plane maneuvers on the runway after it landed at the Incirlik Air Base, on the outskirts of the city of Adana, Turkey, July 31, 2015. Credit: AP

 

Some 50 nuclear bombs at a launching pad of the U.S.-led coalition battling ISIS come under criticism after the failed military coup in Turkey.

Incirlik, located just 110 kilometers (70 miles) from the border with Syria, is a major NATO base and a crucial launching pad for the U.S.-led coalition battling ISIS.

“Whether the U.S. could have maintained control of the weapons in the event of a protracted civil conflict in Turkey is an unanswerable question,” said the report by the Stimson Center, a Washington-based nonprofit institution devoted to enhancing international peace, according to AFP.

While critics have long been alarmed about the nuclear stockpile at the base, the aftermath of the failed military coup in Turkey on July 15 has sparked renewed fear.

“From a security point of view, it’s a roll of the dice” to keep the nuclear bombs stored at Incirlik, report co-author Laicie Heeley told AFP.

“There are significant safeguards in place… But safeguards are just that, they don’t eliminate risk. In the event of a coup, we can’t say for certain that we would have been able to maintain control,” she said.

Full article: U.S. Nukes at Turkish Airbase at Risk of Being Seized by ‘Hostile Forces,’ Report Says (Haaretz)

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