What’s Going on? Contradictory Reports Regarding US Nukes on Incirlik Airbase

Incirlik Air Base, on the outskirts of the city of Adana, southern Turkey (File)

 

Contradictory reports spread across the Web regarding the relocation of US nuclear weapons from Incirlik Airbase. Sputnik provides an overview of recent developments around the base.

On Monday, the Stimson Center, a Washington DC-based nonprofit think tank, released a report, urging policymakers in the US to remove B61 nuclear bombs from Europe and strengthen conventional forces instead.

Next day, on August 16th, Russian media outlet Izvestia cited Igor Morozov, a member of the Russia’s Federation Council (upper chamber of Russian parliament), former member of parliamentary committee on international affairs, saying: “It just remains to come to an agreement with Erdogan that we get the NATO base Incirlik as [our] primary airbase… You’ll see, the next base will be Incirlik.” This information has been published in The Times today, on August 20th.

Later, on Thursday, August 18th, Sputnik reported information initially published by Brussels-based EurActiv news outlet saying that the US forces have started an operation of relocation of its nuclear weapons from Incirlik to Deveselu base in Romania.

In about an hour since the initial report on Sputnik, Romanian Foreign Ministry officially denied that the country is going to host the US nuclear weapons in a letter to Russian RIA Novosti news agency.

Later that day Sputnik attempted to contact the US Department of Defense, but its spokesman Adam Stump declined to either confirm or deny the information.

Yesterday, on August 19th, Foreign Policy published an article, named “No, the the U.S. Is Not Moving Its Nukes From Turkey to Romania.” The article quotes a nuclear weapons expert Jeffrey Lewis, calling the information unlikely. According to Lewis, Romania lacks the required infrastructure needed to store the weapons safely. Unfortunately, Foreign Policy did not provide any official confirmation or denial for the message.

On August 20th, World Bulletin published an article citing Amy Woolf, a researcher for nuclear weapons policy for the U.S. Congressional Research Service. According to Woolf, the nuclear weapons at Incirlik cannot be used, because they required a massive bomber that could drop them.

On August 20th, the Prime Minister of Turkey Binali Yildirim said that Russia could possibly use country’s southern Incirlik Air Base if it becomes necessary. He also added that up to this point, Russia had no need for this base.

What’s really going on at Incirlik?

While it’s clearly impossible to say for sure, there are some more publications on the Web that drop hints at what may be happening.

There are reports on various websites citing a Tweet posted on August 16th by Ibrahim Karagul, a chief editor of Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak, saying “Nuclear weapons at Incirlik should be transferred to Turkey. Or Turkey should take these weapons into its own hands.”

While this is solely a personal opinion of a particular Turkish citizen, it is interesting in connection with another publication.

 

On August 17th, a Turkish journalist Taha Dagli has published an analytic article at Haber7 media outlet. Russian InoSMI news agency has provided a translation of the article. According to Taha Dagli, the original report by Stimson Center implies that, should unrest and chaos spike in Turkey, the nuclear weapons at Incirlik may fall into hands of Turkey, Russia and Iran.

These weapons could be reverse engineered and reproduced, Dagli says. Thus, Turkey or even Iran may get their own nuclear weapons, based on reverse-engineered American bombs. But why would Turkey aim to capture these bombs if it does not have a plane capable of delivering them?

Dagli assumes that this could be used as an excuse for actions against Turkey, as it happened with the occupation of Iraq, which was justified by “fabricated nuclear weapons reports, saying ‘Iraq produces nuclear weapons'”, Dagli writes. Westerners find the journalist’s concerns to be without merit.

“There was a great hope in July 15th, and the main source of this hope was Incirlik Airbase,” he writes, referring to a failed coup attempt in Turkey. “All designs have failed, but, apparently, there are new plans being constructed involving Incirlik.”

The B61 bombs stored at Incirlik, have first been put on service in 1968. But since then they have been upgraded many times, the last time being in 2012, which make an arguably contemporary weapon.

Sputnik will continue to monitor the developments around Incirlik.

Turkish Prime Minister Admits Possibility of Use of Incirlik Base by Russia

Incirlik Air Base, on the outskirts of the city of Adana, southern Turkey (File)

 

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Saturday that Russia could possibly use country’s southern Incirlik Air Base if it becomes necessary.

At the same time Yildirim added that there were no need in Moscow’s use of the base, because Russia possessed facilities located in Syria that was not far from Incirlik.

“This information is not correct, but if necessary the Incirlik base could be used,” Yildirim told reporters, answering a question about Moscow’s alleged request for use of the base, as quoted by the Turkish Anadolu news agency.

Russia has been conducting an aerial campaign against terrorists in Syria since September 30, 2015 at President Bashar Assad’s request. The majority of operations is conducted from Russian air base Hmeimim in Syria, while country’s Aerospace Forces are also conducting sorties from Russia and from Iran’s Hamadan base.

Incirlik military base is used by the United States and shelters combat planes of the US-led coalition launching airstrikes in Syria and Iraq against the Daesh group outlawed in many countries, including Russia.

Turkish Officials Block Access to Air Base that Houses US Tactical Nukes

Nuclear explosion

 

Turkish officials are preventing access to and from the air base until they complete “anti-coup” operations effectively leaving America’s nuclear arsenal in the hands of the same Erdogan regime that just accused Washington of masterminding the coup.

Movement in and out of the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey was blocked on Saturday by local military authorities, a distressing sign for the future of NATO which stores US tactical nuclear weapons at the base.

“Local authorities are denying movements on to and off of Incirlik Air Base. The power there has also been cut,” the US consulate in Adana said in a message. “Please avoid the air base until normal operations have been restored.”

The closure of the airbase also led to a halt in US air strikes against Daesh. CNN Turk was told by sources that Turkish authorities did make an exception for US aircraft that had already been deployed on mission before the airspace was shut and allowed them to land at the base for refueling.

Turkish officials closed the airspace to complete “anti-coup” operations at the base, where some of the servicemen are suspected of supporting the failed Friday night military coup. Turkish officials have rounded up over 2,800 soldiers as well as at least 2,745 judges who they claim were sympathetic to the coup. Those individuals will now face prosecution for treason.

The presence of the US nuclear weapons arsenal in Incirlik Air Base was further complicated on Saturday when Turkish Labor Minister Süleyman Soylu alleged that the United States was behind the failed coup attempt.

“The US is behind the coup attempt. A few journals that are published there [in the US] have been conducting activities for several months. For many months we have sent requests to the US concerning Fethullah Gulen. The US must extradite him,” said Soylu.

US Secretary of State John Kerry issued a fierce condemnation of the allegations calling them harmful to bilitaral relations between the two countries, a sign of a potentially brewing diplomatic row between the two long-time NATO allies.

US tactical nuclear weapons now rest in the hands of a Turkish government willing to openly accuse the United States of seeking its demise under the leadership of an aggressive autocratic ruler who fancies himself the next Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

The instability of Turkey which faces pressures from the 2.75 million Syrian refugees seeking asylum, Kurdish opposition, Daesh terrorists, and a military that has shown a willingness to turn on the country’s president may force NATO to ultimately pull its nuclear weapons stockpile from Incirlik airbase before the country descends into chaos.

Turkish FM Denies Saying Ankara Will Open Incirlik Airbase to Russia

Incirlik Air Base, on the outskirts of the city of Adana, southern Turkey (File)

 

Turkey is ready to cooperate with Russia on the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group, but there are no talks on using the Incirlik airbase, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday.

 The Kremlin found out about about Turkey’s proposal regarding the Incirlik airbase through the media and Moscow will need to analyze this “important statement,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said Monday.

“I didn’t say that, I was referring to renewed cooperation with Russia on Syria,” Cavusoglu said as quoted by CNN Turk, clarifying his earlier statements.

The Incirlik base is five miles north of the Turkish city of Adana near the Syrian border.The airbase currently hosts aircraft of the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Qatar involved in the US-led air campaign against Daesh, which is outlawed in several states, including Russia.

Earlier, Russia and Turkey have reached common understanding on the Syrian crisis, including fighting al-Nusra Front militants. During a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara considers not only Daesh but also al-Nusra Front as terrorists.

Kremlin Only Learned of Turkey’s Airbase Proposal Through Media – Spokesman

A Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet ( C foreground) is seen between U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter jets at Incirlik airbase in the southern city of Adana, Turkey, December 11, 2015

 

Kremlin spokesman stated that Kremlin found out about about Turkey’s proposal regarding the Incirlik airbase through the media.

 

The Kremlin found out about about Turkey’s proposal regarding the Incirlik airbase through the media and Moscow will need to analyze this “important statement,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

“I don’t know if there have been any official military talks on this matter, whether they’ve had time to resume them. If I’m not mistaken, they have not. We really did hear this statement for the first time through the media. Of course, this is an important statement and it will need to be analyzed both politically and militarily,” Peskov told reporters.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told local television earlier in the day that Ankara could allow Moscow to use the Incirlik military airbase in southern Turkey in its fight against the Daesh.

Turkey Could Allow Russia to Use Incirlik Air Base – Foreign Minister

Incirlik Air Base, on the outskirts of the city of Adana, southern Turkey (File)

 

According to the Turkish Foreign Finister, Russia might be allowed to use Incirlik Air Base.

Cavusoglu noted that Ankara could allow Russia to use the base to fight Daesh in the region.

“We will cooperate with everyone who fights Daesh. We have been doing this for quite a while, and we opened Incirlik base for those who want to fight terrorists. Why not cooperate with Russia as well on these terms? Daesh is our common enemy, and we need to fight this enemy.”

 

The Incirlik base is five miles north of the Turkish city of Adana near the Syrian border.The airbase currently hosts aircraft of the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Qatar involved in the US-led air campaign against Daesh, which is outlawed in several states, including Russia.

Earlier, Russia and Turkey have reached common understanding on the Syrian crisis, including fighting al-Nusra Front militants. During a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara considers not only Daesh but also al-Nusra Front as terrorists.