It is very likely that some analysts will answer in the negative to the above question. Their negative answer is mainly based on the following:
- Turkey is a NATO member, and there are 50 US B-61 nuclear bombs stored on its territory, at Incirlik Air Base.
- Turkey is a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and has ratified the Treaty on the Complete Prohibition of Nuclear Testing.
However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is “very close” to nuclear Pakistan, which likes to share nuclear technology. Turkish environmentalists also point to the paradox that Erdogan’s nuclear program is wasteful and largely unnecessary.
At the same time, there are four very important indications, which may lead us to the conclusion that Turkey is advancing day and night its ultimate goal of becoming a nuclear power. These are:
President Erdogan openly says he wants the bomb.
In the autumn of 2019, Turkey complained to the UN General Assembly that the NPT prohibits countries like Turkey from developing nuclear weapons, but is unaware that other states have. He went on to say that nuclear weapons are a huge source of strength for Israel.
Earlier, he told members of the Justice and Development Party that “some countries have nuclear warheads, not one or two, but they tell us we can’t have them. I cannot accept that.”
Turkey’s Nuclear Energy Program does not make its energy independent.
Under the plan, along the Turkish Mediterranean coast, the Russians are building four large civilian nuclear reactors at the Akkuyu nuclear facility. Erdogan hopes the Russians will complete the first reactor by 2023, in time for the centennial celebration of modern Turkey foundation. Ankara says it needs nuclear energy to reduce its dependence on gas imports from unreliable partners – Russia and Iran – and to meet electricity demand. This demand has grown at the highest rate of all OECD countries since 2005.
The following is an indication of Turkey’s energy demand:
- Turkey’s daily electricity consumption rose 16% to record 908,395 megawatt-hours (MWh) in early July, according to official data from the Turkish Electricity Transmission Company (TEIAŞ).
- The majority of production came from natural gas units at 216,331 MWh. Hydroelectric power stations and imported coal followed with 199,943 MWh and 188,980 MWh, respectively.
- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey has nearly tripled its installed capacity from about 31,000 MW to more than 91,000 MW by 2020.
- The country has an annual increase in installed capacity of more than 6% among the OECD countries.
- Turkey ranks first among all OECD countries with this increase in production capacity, according to Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez.
- In the first five months of 2020, Turkey increased electricity production from domestic and renewable sources to 66%. The country ranks second in Europe in the production of electricity based on renewable resources.
Nevertheless, the Akkuyu nuclear plant does not make Turkey any less dependent on external powers. Russia will own and operate the facility and, in fact, the Akkuyu plant is not a so good investment.
While ROSATOM, Russia’s state-owned nuclear power plant, “pays the bill” for the first reactor, it will not do the same for the other three Akkuyu reactors. Despite many years of searching for private investors, no one was found for this project. To complete Akkuyu, the Turkish government will have to finance it through foreign investment which are constantly decreasing or through public debt.
If President Erdogan had seen the energy market, he would have known that gas and renewable energy were hitting nuclear power. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkey imported gas for a fragment of the price of electricity of the Akkuyu plant – an unprofitable price of 12.35 cents per kilowatt hour.
But Erdogan wants both. He also wants the natural gas, which he is trying to steal from Cyprus-Greece-Libya with the well-known accusations and completely illegal actions, such as the completely non-existent Turkish-Libyan pact, but also the foolish things he guesses in relation to International Law, that islands do not have an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). He also wants nuclear weapons, since an objective observer must wonder why the country’s poor economies did not weaken Erdogan’s nuclear ambitions.
Acquiring more gas will allow Turkey to meet its electricity demand today, as it stands, 10% of Turkish electricity comes from solar and wind energy sources. One of Turkey’s leading universities recently stated that these sources could cover 30% of Turkey’s electricity demand by 2026, given the appropriate investment.
The coverage of nuclear energy for the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
What is particularly worrying is that Turkey could use nuclear energy as a cover for the supply of technology and material related to the construction of nuclear weapons. The transfer of technology is already taking place.
Since the Akkuyu project began, Turkish engineering students have become the second largest national nuclear science team in Russia. Let’s see something similar. As Russia builds an Iranian civilian power plant in Bushehr, side deals have led to the transfer of equipment and the exchange of scientists who helped Iran acquire its nuclear weapons program.
Many experts argue that the case of Turkey is not the same as that of Iran, as the former has signed an additional protocol agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, opening the country to closer inspections than Iran to prevent military nuclear of fissile materials into weapons.
However, we must point out that fuel is not the only problem, as UN inspectors cannot go into detail about “monitoring intangible technology and dual-use transport” that is critical to the development of nuclear weapons.
Close cooperation between Turkey and Pakistan.
Erdogan is militarily cooperating with a nuclear-armed Pakistan, a country not close to the Turkish border. For decades, Turkish-Pakistani relations have been warm but superficial.
Since 2018, Erdogan has significantly strengthened these ties. Last year, he addressed a joint session of the Pakistani parliament for the fourth time, passionately supporting Pakistan’s position in the Kashmir dispute. Not only has Erdogan suddenly become keenly interested in Kashmir, but he is providing the Pakistani military with sophisticated weapons.
Just two years ago, Turkey won its largest defense contract ever, a multi-billion dollar contract to build four large naval vessels for the Pakistan Navy. In addition, a Turkish company is building Pakistan’s largest domestic warship in Karachi.
Turkey is also upgrading Pakistani Agosta 90B Class submarines, selling T129 attack helicopters and maintenance and modernization of the PAF’s F-16s. Overall, only China is Pakistan’s largest military supplier.
Erdogan’s current influence in Islamabad exceeds that of North Korea, Iran and Libya, which have received nuclear aid from Pakistan.
The Turkish plan.
Turkey thirsts for energy. Its moves regarding the Cyprus-Greek and Libyan EEZ are aimed at embezzling the gas and oil it needs in order to meet its energy needs and its goal to become a major regional power.
The acquisition of nuclear weapons is one of its goals and it is trying to achieve it day and night under the tolerance-weakness of the previous Trump administration, the always opportunistic Putin and the weak military and politically reluctant EU.
The future of Greek-Turkish relations is one-way and leads to war, since the interests of Turkey, as I mentioned above, demand illegal actions on Greek and Cyprus’ EEZs and the natural gas and oil fields that are within it.
The purpose of the exploratory contacts on the part of Turkey is to give it the time it needs to secure its backs militarily from Greece and in fact with the intervention of the EU, while claiming that it can gain through dialogue.
At the same time, it will deploy a large part of its naval forces and a significant part of its air force in Libya in order to equip its air and naval base there, making it a protectorate and exploiting its oil and gas, but also conducting research for possible offshore deposits, within the Libyan and Greek EEZ, implementing the completely unacceptable Turkish-Libyan memorandum.
One hopes that the US-EU will block Turkey’s path to acquiring nuclear weapons and the rest of its plans that were mentioned above.