Erdogan demands nuclear weapons for Turkey
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says it is unacceptable that Turkey is denied nuclear weapons while Israel has them.
“Some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads, not one or two. But we can’t have them. This, I cannot accept,” he told an AK Party rally in the eastern city of Sivas.
“There is no developed nation in the world that doesn’t have them,” Erdogan said incorrectly.
Only the US, Russia, the UK, France and China legally have nuclear weapons. India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea later developed missiles and South Africa dismantled its nuclear bombs when it became a democracy.
“We have Israel nearby, as almost neighbours. They scare [the region] by possessing these. No one can touch them.”
Israel has never confirmed its arsenal.
Turkey signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1980 and the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which bans detonations.
“S-400 training started in Gatchina, Russia with the participation of Air Force Command personnel as part of long-range air-and-missile defence system project,” Turkey’s Defence Ministry tweeted.
On an August 27 visit to Russia, Erdogan expressed a desire to continue strengthening bilateral military ties.
Ankara received its first Russian S-400 missiles in July, jeopardising its Nato membership.
Deliveries are due to continue for around one month, the Defence Ministry said.
The US said the air-defence system would be incompatible with existing Nato systems and expose its fifth-generation F-35 jet to possible Russian subterfuge. Both the planes and the S-400 system are operational in Syria.
US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper said Turkey could not take both weapons at the same time.
“I have been very clear in my both public comments and privately with my Turkish counterpart. It is the F-35 or the S-400. It is not both,” he said.
Turkey said the S-400 would not be integrated into the Nato equipment and would not pose a threat to alliance armaments.
Turkey asked to set up of a commission to clarify any technical issues with Washington.
Erdogan’s government says it was the US refusal to sell Patriot missiles that led it to seek alternative equipment, saying that Russia offered a better deal.
Disruption of Nato has been a consistent goal of the Kremlin this century.
S-400. Turkey is keen to bolster its military muscle. Picture credit: Wikimedia