Turkey and Tactical Nuclear Weapons: A Political Love Affair

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As part of its commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Turkey is one of five North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries currently hosting an estimated 200 American tactical nuclear weapons at six European air bases. The weapons are deployed as part of NATO’s collective security posture and during the Cold War were meant to deter a Warsaw Pact invasion. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rationale for the B-61’s deployment disappeared, raising questions about their military value, and whether or not the forward deployment of tactical nuclear weapons continue to have a place in the Alliance’s collective security posture. Despite growing opposition from other countries hosting NATO nuclear weapons, Turkey quietly supports maintaining the estimated 60-70 weapons deployed on its territory. Ankara also expects other NATO countries to continue their nuclear stewardship as part of the Alliance’s burden sharing principle.

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