Concerns raised over military presence, nukes stored in Turkey By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 26, 2017 STUTTGART, Germany — The U.S. should move its nuclear weapons from Incirlik Air Base and start looking for alternatives to the longtime military hub in Turkey, a country that can no longer be fully relied on, analysts and former military officials said. The U.S. military maintains about 50 nuclear warheads at Incirlik, according to nuclear watchdog organizations. “It is the worst place possible to be keeping nuclear weapons,” said Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a prominent nonprofit advocacy group. The strained relationship between the U.S. and Turkey, a NATO ally, has steadily deteriorated in the wake of an attempted mutiny against the Ankara government in July 2016. Critics say Turkey is now behaving more like an adversary than an ally. Since the coup attempt, Turkish President Recep Erdogan has cracked down on the opposition, raising concerns inside NATO about an authoritarian overhaul. Turkey also has been at odds with the aims of the U.S.-led coalition in Syria and publicly flirted with purchasing Russian-made air defense systems. Ankara is suspected of leaking the locations of sensitive U.S. bases inside Syria to a state-run news agency and also engaged in a diplomatic spat with Germany that recently forced Berlin to pull its forces out of Incirlik. Concern over warheads The U.S. military does not comment on the locations of the weapons as a standing policy, but Incirlik’s housing of the warheads has long been common knowledge. Now it is a source of growing concern. At Incirlik, “it is not safe for our military spouses and children, but it is OK for 50 hydrogen bombs to be there?” he said. A former senior NATO official echoed such worries: “If there are nuclear weapons stored in Turkey, they should be removed given the instability, both in the country and across the border in Syria and Iraq.” U.S. forces have been a steady presence at Incirlik since the early days of the Cold War, when an alliance with Turkey served as a bulwark against the Soviet Union at the crossroads between Europe and the Middle East. Family members of U.S. forces were often a constant presence on base, but that changed in 2016 when the Air Force ordered all dependents home, citing security concerns. https://www.stripes.com/news/concer...-nukes-stored-in-turkey-1.479940#.WXqFMca-LGI If we move the airbase and nukes from Turkey they will fall further into Russia's orbit. Removal of the nukes may also result in Turkey going for its own nukes given their proximity to Russia and Iran. Don't forget that Israel also has nukes and the Saudis could get them in the future. As long as US nukes are in Turkey then Turkey has go excuse to go nuclear. Incirlik is also strategically placed, it can be accessed by land and sea and is in close proximity to the middle east, caucasus, black sea, and eastern mediterranean. A base in Greece or Northern Syria wouldn't offer us the same capabilities.