Fact Sheet

Nuclear Disarmament Turkey

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Nuclear Disarmament Turkey

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Estimated Arsenal Size

  • 50 U.S. non-strategic gravity B-61 warheads at the Incirlik Air Base (the current number of these weapons marked for delivery by Turkish F-16 aircraft is not known). [1]

Weapons System

  • Non-strategic warheads: B-61-3, B-61-4 [2]
  • Delivery Aircraft: US F-16C/D, Turkish F-16

Modernization

  • The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is currently modernizing the non-strategic warheads deployed in NATO countries. NNSA is refurbishing and replacing components of the aging B-61-3 and B-61-4 warheads, converting them into the updated B61-12 model. Under NNSA's B61-12 Life Extension Plan, the updated warheads will enter full production in 2020 and be deployed by 2024. [3]
  • The integration of the B61-12 into NATO dual-capable aircraft is expected to be completed by 2018. [4]
  • Enhancements planned from 2015 to 2018 will integrate the B61-12 onto the Turkish F-16 aircraft. [5]
  • Turkey is currently acquiring the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter from the United States, which will be nuclear certified in 2024. [6]

Destructive Force [7]

  • B-61-3: maximum yield of 170 kilotons
  • B-61-4: 45 kilotons
  • B-61-12: 50 kilotons (but with the guided tail kit, it will have improved accuracy) [8]

Nuclear Weapons Related Policies

  • 1999 NATO Strategic Concept confirms commitment to deploying nuclear weapons in Europe to maintain the "minimum level sufficient to preserve peace and stability." [9] In 2010 NATO reasserted that it would be a nuclear alliance while nuclear weapons continue to exist. [10]
     
  • While NATO continues to reaffirm the importance of deploying U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe, disagreements among member states on this issue have become more pronounced since the German government expressed support for the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Germany and Europe in October 2009. [11]
     
  • The Deterrence and Defense Posture Review adopted at the May 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago states that "the Alliance's nuclear force posture currently meets the criteria for an effective deterrence and defense posture." Therefore, some experts argue that the scheduled nuclear modernization contradicts this concept. [12]
     
  • On 5 September 2014 NATO reasserted the centrality of nuclear deterrence to the security of NATO members, with U.S. nuclear capabilities playing a key role in this strategy. While stating that a situation in which a nuclear weapon would be detonated is highly unlikely, NATO declared that current relations with Russia have halted cooperative disarmament efforts. U.S. nuclear weapons are therefore likely to remain in Turkey and other NATO nuclear-sharing countries. [13]
     
  • Turkey supports the Australia-led Humanitarian Initiative. [14] While the alternative Austria-led Initiative maintains that, regardless of circumstance, nuclear weapons should not be detonated, the Australia-led initiative has not made that declaration. Because of this distinction, the Australia-led Humanitarian Initiative provides a more realistic approach to disarmament given the current security atmosphere. [15]
     
  • Turkey is a member of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), a group of non-nuclear weapon states dedicated to disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful nuclear activities as outlined in the NPT and the 2010 NPT Review Conference. [16]
     
  • NATO reaffirmed its commitment to a mixture of conventional and nuclear forces at the Warsaw Summit, while indirectly warning Russia that its capabilities far exceed those of any adversary. [17]
     
  • Given the attempted coup in Turkey on 15 July 2016, as well as other concerns about regional instability and the threat posed by the Islamic State, there is ongoing debate in the policy community about whether the United States should continue to station tactical nuclear weapons in Turkey. [18]
     

Treaty Commitments

  • State Party to NPT and PTBT. Signed and ratified the CTBT . [19]

Sources:
[1] Hans M. Kristensen, "Upgrades at U.S. Nuclear Bases in Europe Acknowledge Security Risk," Federation of American Scientists, 10 September 2015, https://fas.org.
[2] Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, "Worldwide Deployments of Nuclear Weapons, 2014," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 70, No. 5 (September/October 2014), p. 96-108.
[3] United States Government Accountability Office, NNSA Has a New Approach to Managing the B-61-12 Life Extension, but a Constrained Schedule and Other Risks Remain, GAO-16-218, February 2016, pp. 10-25, www.gao.gov.
[4] Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, "United States Nuclear Forces, 2016," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Volume 72, No. 2, pp. 63-73, 2016.
[5] Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, "Slowing Nuclear Weapon Reductions and Endless Nuclear Weapon Modernizations: A Challenge to the NPT," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 70, No. 4 (July/August 2014), p. 94-107.
[6] Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, "United States Nuclear Forces, 2016," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Volume 72, No. 2, pp. 63-73, 2016
[7] Hans M. Kristensen, "U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe," Natural Resources Defense Council, February 2005, p. 9, www.nrdc.org.
[8] Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, "United States Nuclear Forces, 2016," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Volume 72, No. 2, pp. 63-73, 2016.
[9] "The Alliance's New Strategic Concept," NATO, 24 April 1999, www.nato.int.
[10] "Active Engagement, Modern Defence: Strategic Concept for the Defence and Security of the Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation adopted by Heads of State and Government in Lisbon," Report at the Summit Meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 19 November 2010, www.nato.int; "Wales Summit Declaration," Statement by the Heads of State and Government of the North Atlantic Alliance, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 5 September 2014, www.nato.int.
[11] Oliver Meier, "Steinmeier Calls for U.S. to Withdraw Nukes," Arms Control Today, 8 May 2009, www.armscontrol.org.
[12] "The Deterrence and Defence Posture Review," NATO, 20 May 2012, www.nato.int; Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, "Slowing Nuclear Weapon Reductions and Endless Nuclear Weapon Modernizations: A Challenge to the NPT," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 70, No. 4 (July/August 2014), p. 94-107.
[13] "Wales Summit Declaration," Statement by the Heads of State and Government of the North Atlantic Alliance, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 5 September 2014, www.nato.int.
[14] "Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons," Statement by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations, Reaching Critical Will, 30 April 2015, www.reachingcriticalwill.org.
[15] "Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons," Statement by the Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria, Reaching Critical Will, 28 April 2015, www.reachingcriticalwill.org: "Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons," Statement by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations, Reaching Critical Will, 30 April 2015, www.reachingcriticalwill.org.
[16] "NPDI Statement for 2015 NPT Review Conference," Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 27 April 2015, www.un.org.xw.
[17] "Factbox: Main decisions of NATO's Warsaw summit," Reuters, 9 June 2016, www.reuters.com.
[18] Jeffrey Lewis, "America's Nukes Aren't Safe in Turkey Anymore," Foreign Policy, 18 July 2016, https://foreignpolicy.com.
[19] "Country Profiles: Turkey," Reaching Critical Will, accessed 8 July 2015, www.reachingcriticalwill.org; "Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water," United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, accessed 8 July 2015, www.disarmament.un.org.

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Glossary

Tactical nuclear weapons
Short-range nuclear weapons, such as artillery shells, bombs, and short-range missiles, deployed for use in battlefield operations.
Deployment
The positioning of military forces – conventional and/or nuclear – in conjunction with military planning.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a military alliance that was formed in 1949 to help deter the Soviet Union from attacking Europe. The Alliance is based on the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed in Washington on 4 April 1949. The treaty originally created an alliance of 10 European and two North American independent states, but today NATO has 28 members who have committed to maintaining and developing their defense capabilities, to consulting on issues of mutual security concern, and to the principle of collective self-defense. NATO is also engaged in out-of-area security operations, most notably in Afghanistan, where Alliance forces operate alongside other non-NATO countries as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). For additional information, see NATO.
Dual-use item
An item that has both civilian and military applications. For example, many of the precursor chemicals used in the manufacture of chemical weapons have legitimate civilian industrial uses, such as the production of pesticides or ink for ballpoint pens.
Kiloton
Kiloton: A term used to quantify the energy of a nuclear explosion that is equivalent to the explosion of 1,000 tons of trinitrotoluene (TNT) conventional explosive.
Deterrence
The actions of a state or group of states to dissuade a potential adversary from initiating an attack or conflict through the credible threat of retaliation. To be effective, a deterrence strategy should demonstrate to an adversary that the costs of an attack would outweigh any potential gains. See entries for Extended deterrence and nuclear deterrence.
Disarmament
Though there is no agreed-upon legal definition of what disarmament entails within the context of international agreements, a general definition is the process of reducing the quantity and/or capabilities of military weapons and/or military forces.
Nonproliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI)
Nonproliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI): Founded by Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates in September 2010, the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) is a ministerial-level group of states within the framework of the Nonproliferation Treaty focused on practical steps that will forward the consensus outcomes of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
Non-nuclear weapon state (NNWS)
Non-nuclear weapon state (NNWS): Under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), NNWS are states that had not detonated a nuclear device prior to 1 January 1967, and who agree in joining the NPT to refrain from pursuing nuclear weapons (that is, all state parties to the NPT other than the United States, the Soviet Union/Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China).
Nonproliferation
Nonproliferation: Measures to prevent the spread of biological, chemical, and/or nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. See entry for Proliferation.
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
The NPT: Signed in 1968, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the most widely adhered-to international security agreement. The “three pillars” of the NPT are nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Article VI of the NPT commits states possessing nuclear weapons to negotiate in good faith toward halting the arms race and the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The Treaty stipulates that non-nuclear-weapon states will not seek to acquire nuclear weapons, and will accept International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on their nuclear activities, while nuclear weapon states commit not to transfer nuclear weapons to other states. All states have a right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and should assist one another in its development. The NPT provides for conferences of member states to review treaty implementation at five-year intervals. Initially of a 25-year duration, the NPT was extended indefinitely in 1995. For additional information, see the NPT.
Tactical nuclear weapons
Short-range nuclear weapons, such as artillery shells, bombs, and short-range missiles, deployed for use in battlefield operations.
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
The NPT: Signed in 1968, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the most widely adhered-to international security agreement. The “three pillars” of the NPT are nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Article VI of the NPT commits states possessing nuclear weapons to negotiate in good faith toward halting the arms race and the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The Treaty stipulates that non-nuclear-weapon states will not seek to acquire nuclear weapons, and will accept International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on their nuclear activities, while nuclear weapon states commit not to transfer nuclear weapons to other states. All states have a right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and should assist one another in its development. The NPT provides for conferences of member states to review treaty implementation at five-year intervals. Initially of a 25-year duration, the NPT was extended indefinitely in 1995. For additional information, see the NPT.
Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT)
The PTBT: Also known as the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT), the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water prohibits nuclear weapons tests "or any other nuclear explosion" in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water. While the treaty does not ban tests underground, it does prohibit nuclear explosions in this environment if they cause "radioactive debris to be present outside the territorial limits of the State under whose jurisdiction or control" the explosions were conducted. The treaty is of unlimited duration. For additional information, see the PTBT.
Ratification
Ratification: The implementation of the formal process established by a country to legally bind its government to a treaty, such as approval by a parliament. In the United States, treaty ratification requires approval by the president after he or she has received the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate. Following ratification, a country submits the requisite legal instrument to the treaty’s depository governments Procedures to ratify a treaty follow its signature.

See entries for Entry into force and Signature.
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)
The CTBT: Opened for signature in 1996 at the UN General Assembly, the CTBT prohibits all nuclear testing if it enters into force. The treaty establishes the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) to ensure the implementation of its provisions and verify compliance through a global monitoring system upon entry into force. Pending the treaty’s entry into force, the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO is charged with establishing the International Monitoring System (IMS) and promoting treaty ratifications. CTBT entry into force is contingent on ratification by 44 Annex II states. For additional information, see the CTBT.

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