The United States must urgently relocate its nuclear weapons in Turkey’s İncirlik air base, in light of the country’s growing strain of anti-Americanism and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s willingness to move closer toward Russia, retired Gen. Chuck Wald, who served as deputy commander of the U.S. European Command in the 2000s, told Bloomberg.
An estimated 50 B61 nuclear gravity bombs are stored in Turkey’s İncirlik air base which stands about 100 miles from Turkey’s border with Syria, where Turkey launched a nine-day military offensive targeting U.S.-backed Kurdish forces on Oct. 9.
Erdoğan has routinely threatened to attack the U.S.’ Kurdish allies in Syria even while U.S. forces were still operating in those areas, raising serious questions about whether U.S. and NATO forces should remain at Incirlik, Wald said.
In fact, Under Erdogan, Turkey has been a thorn in the side of the United States for the last half decade, the retired general said, pointing to Ankara’s refusal to grant the United States permission to use Incirlik for U.S. military operations against the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2014, when the jihadist organization was flexing its muscles across Syria and Iraq.
Read more: ahval