Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s hinting last week at acquiring nuclear weapons left observers envisioning how that might happen, including a possible theft from its NATO ally, said an analysis on Monday in conservative U.S. outlet The National Interest.
Joseph Cirincione, president of the Plowshares Fund, told National Interest reporter Matthew Petti that the threat is real, but not imminent. “If Turkey wanted to build a nuclear bomb, it could,” he said. “It would take decades. It’s not something that would happen overnight.”
A U.S. State Department official pointed out that Turkey agreed to never acquire nuclear weapons by signing the non-proliferation treaty.
Soner Çağaptay, director of the Turkey program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Petti that Erdoğan’s comments came from his perception that the unipolar world order imposed by the U.S. is collapsing and he can be more aggressive in his neighborhood.
“Turkey has also been quite aggressive in pushing against Greece and Greek Cypriots in the Eastern [Mediterranean] lately, and I think this is also part and parcel of Erdoğan’s policy of sending signals to Athens,” said Çağaptay, adding that the president also sought to excite his right-wing voter base.