US Nuclear Weapons in Turkey at Risk of Seizure by Terrorists, Hostile Forces


The continued presence of dozens of U.S. nuclear weapons at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey raises serious risks of their seizure by terrorists and other hostile forces, a new report by the nonpartisan Stimson Center finds. The report titled B61 Life Extension Program: Costs and Policy Considerations, found that it was an “unanswerable question,” whether the U.S. could have maintained control of the approximately 50 B61 nuclear weapons based at Incirlik during a protracted civil conflict in Turkey. During the failed July 15 coup attempt, power to Incirlik Air Base was cut off and the Turkish government prohibited U.S. aircraft from flying in or out. Eventually, the Incirlik base commander was arrested and implicated in the coup plot. The report’s findings come exactly one month after the failed coup attempt and on the heels of a milestone earlier this month authorizing the production and engineering phase of the B61 Life Extension Program.

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