Turkish President: We want the same protection as Israel
By: Elad Benari
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday it was unacceptable for nuclear-armed states to forbid Ankara from obtaining its own nuclear weapons, though he did not say whether Turkey had plans to obtain them.
“Some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads, not one or two. But (they tell us) we can’t have them. This, I cannot accept,” he told his ruling AK Party members in the eastern city of Sivas, according to Reuters.
“There is no developed nation in the world that doesn’t have them,” Erdogan said. “In fact, many developed countries do not have nuclear weapons.”
Erdogan hinted that he wanted the same protection for Turkey as Israel has.
“We have Israel nearby, as almost neighbors. They scare (other nations) by possessing these. No one can touch them,” he said, according to Reuters.
Israel maintains a policy of “nuclear ambiguity,” neither confirming nor denying that it has nuclear weapons.
Arab countries have for years tried to put attention on the Dimona reactor in southern Israel, which they claim has been “overlooked” by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors for decades.
The Arab League has unsuccessfully tried to convince the US and European nations to join a campaign to end Israel’s policy of nuclear ambiguity.
It has, however, seen some support at the United Nations. A UN resolution passed in 2010 called for a nuclear-free Middle East and singled out Israel for criticism, while ignoring Iran, whose former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad constantly threatened to wipe Israel off the map.
Turkey signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1980, and has also signed the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear detonations for any purpose, noted Reuters. (INN)