US Likely to Keep Nukes in Turkey Despite Coup Attempt


The U.S. will probably keep its nuclear weapons stored at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey despite the recent coup attempt on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

As my colleague Richard Sisk reported at

While not confirming the presence of nuclear weapons at Incirlik, Cook also said steps had been taken to boost security for "special weapons" at the base shared with the Turkish Air Force to "keep everything safe, and we're going to continue to do that. As a matter of policy, we don't discuss strategic assets.

Arms control groups have long maintained that the U.S. stores nuclear weapons at Incirlik and other NATO bases in Europe. Last September, the Russian Foreign Ministry charged that the U.S. was upgrading B-61 nuclear bombs stored "not just in Germany, but also in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and Turkey."

At the time, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said at a briefing that the U.S. has long deployed nuclear weapons overseas but "we neither confirm nor deny their presence at any specific location."

Incirlik Air Base is the largest U.S. nuclear weapons storage site in Europe with 25 underground vaults, each of which can hold up to four bombs for a maximum total base capacity of 100 bombs, according to the Federation of American Scientists, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., which opposes the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

There are an estimated 50 B61 thermonuclear bombs stored there, amounting to a quarter of the U.S. stockpile of the weapon, which can be carried by F-16s and other aircraft.

The organization has said the U.S. is working on upgrading its nuclear weapon storage facilities  with new fencing, lighting and sensors at Incirlik and Aviano Air Base in Italy.

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