Turkey silent on nuclear stockpile

Siting of Nato weapons on its soil proving problematic for Ankara's foreign policy.

    As a month-long Nuclear Non-Proliferation summit in New York draws to a close, participants are still debating how best to achieve a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East.

    The problem at the heart of it all is Israel, a country with an undisclosed but known nuclear-weapons capability.

    Israel decided not to come to the US meeting, knowing it would face scrutiny and criticism.

    Meanwhile, while it is still not clear whether Iran really wants or intends to militarise its fledgling nuclear industry, the potential has already increased tension throughout the Middle East and led to warnings of a new arms race there.

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, has been among the most outspoken on the issue, saying many times that it is unreasonable to call just for restraints on Iran, while not dealing with the nuclear capability of Israel.

    But the one issue that Erdogan never mentions is Turkey's own nuclear weapons stockpile.

    As a founding member of Nato, and a strategically-located state, Turkey is one of five Nato countries with nuclear weapons stationed on its soil.

    And as many domestic analysts are now observing, this evident contradiction is no longer helpful for Ankara's newly neighbourly and avowedly peaceful foreign policy.  

    Anita McNaught reports from Istanbul.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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