‘Nuclear weapons of US in Turkey decreased’
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
This file photo shows a F16 jet. According to a report, the remaining 10-20 B61 tactical [nonstrategic] nuclear weapons at İncirlik are earmarked for delivery by Turkish F-16s. AFP photoThere are fewer atomic weapons deployed in southern Turkey’s İncirlik Airbase today than there were 10 years ago, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a nontechnical online magazine that covers global security and public policy issues.
“Turkey hosts an estimated 60 to 70 B61 tactical [nonstrategic] nuclear weapons at İncirlik Airbase, down from the 2001 level of 90 weapons,” the report said.
The report also said most of the bombs, approximately 50, are for delivery by U.S. aircraft, but the U.S. Air Force does not have a fighter wing based at İncirlik because Turkey’s has not permitted the deployment of a fighter wing there. In a crisis, U.S. aircraft from other bases would have to first deploy to İncirlik to pick up the weapons stored at the site before they could be used.
The remaining 10-20 bombs at İncirlik are earmarked for delivery by Turkish F-16A/Bs.
The report said Turkey’s F-16s were slated to be replaced by F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) beginning in 2015.
“According to Pentagon sources, Turkey currently uses its F-16s to execute the nuclear mission. Moreover, until Turkey acquires a sufficient number of nuclear-capable JSFs over 15 years, its F-16s are scheduled to receive a ‘stop-gap’ upgrade to make them capable of carrying the new B61-12 bomb that will replace the B61-3/4 beginning in 2017,” the report said.
Until 1995, Akıncı in central Turkey and Balıkesir in western Turkey also stored U.S. nuclear weapons for delivery, but roughly 40 weapons were later moved to İncirlik, the report said.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was founded in 1945 by former Manhattan Project physicists after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.