Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wants more than control over a wide swath of Syria along his country’s border. He wants the Bomb.
In the weeks leading up to his order to launch the military across the border to clear Kurdish areas, Mr. Erdogan made no secret of his larger ambition. “Some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads,” he told a meeting of his governing party in September 2019. But the West insists “we can’t have them,” he said. “This, I cannot accept.”
With Turkey now in open confrontation with its NATO allies, having gambled and won a bet, that it could conduct a military incursion into Syria and get away with it, Mr. Erdogan’s threat takes on new meaning.
United States knows, if it could not prevent the Turkish leader from routing its Kurdish allies, how does it stop him from building a nuclear weapon or following Iran in gathering the technology to do so? But how does that even happen, since it won’t be supported in international nuclear playfield?
Same old wily scoundrel and groomed ally, Pakistan.
Turkey from then to Today
Post the first world war, the Ottoman Empire collapsed and the state of Turkey fell into the hands of “Mustafa Kemal Atatürk”, a Turkish army officer who led offensives in the first world war. The first president of Turkey encouraged secularism and paved path for culture-rich Turkey that we see today.
Contemporary Turkey is not what Ataturk had dreamed of, and under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, the country is having a shift towards becoming an Islam principal state. The alleged fake 2016 midnight Coup and the Turkish Constitutional Referendum of 2017, which made amendments to the constitution, consecutively strengthened President Erdogan’s fundamental dictatorial powers.
Present Nuclear Weapon Status
Already Turkey has the makings of a bomb program: uranium deposits and research reactors, and mysterious ties to the nuclear world’s most famous black marketer, Abdul Qadeer Khan of Pakistan. It is also building its first big power reactor to generate electricity with Russia’s help.
That could pose a concern because Mr. Erdogan has not clarified how he would handle its nuclear waste, which could provide the fuel for a weapon. Russia also built Iran’s Bushehr reactor.
Turkey is currently building its first major reactor to generate electricity with the same Russian help. The Russian Rosatom company in September 2019 won a $20 billion contract to build four civilian nuclear reactors in Akkuyu, on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
Turkey already has the major elements for acquiring a nuclear capability viz rich uranium deposits, and the TR-1 and TR-2 Research Reactors maintained by the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority.
The greatest challenge in acquiring a nuclear weapons is capacity in obtaining fuel.
A civilian nuclear power program, as in the Iranian case with Russian Technology, can often serve as a ruse for making that fuel and building a clandestine nuclear arsenal.
Mr. Erdogan has settled your bill
During the failed July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, which is known to be a Erdogan gimmick to consolidate his hold and autocratic powers, Pakistan displayed its unequivocal support for this Erdogan show. In a show of commonality (pun intended), then prime minister Nawaz Sharif called the embattled Turkish president in the midst of the coup and visited the Turkish parliament shortly after it was put down.
Following the 2016 coup attempt, for which Erdogan blamed Fethullah Gülen and his Hizmet movement, the Turkish leader began to demand that other countries follow his buffoonery, by branding Gülen and his supporters as terrorists and shutting down their schools.
The government of Pakistan responded by refusing to renew the work and residence visas of the Pak Turk schools’ Turkish staff. Some were refused entry to other countries and subsequently returned to Turkey to face indefinite imprisonment.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court later ordered the government to designate the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization” a terrorist group, the way it orders anything that Pakistan Military intends to be done.
Bludgeoning love affair- China the Matchmaker?
The story is more sinister than minor military help that Pakistan keeps receiving from Turkey. It is in context of an acknowledged emergent strategic alliance between these countries.
Turkey and Pakistan’s burgeoning defense relationship is a matter of record. It has experienced a sharp upward trajectory since current Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power.
Recently, Pakistan’s naval ship PNS Alamgir and P3C long-range maritime patrol aircraft participated in a naval exercise “DoguAkendiz 2019” in southwest Turkey. An additional bilateral exercise took place earlier this year in the Indian Ocean.
In October, the Pakistan Navy commissioned a 17,000-ton fleet tanker that it has built-in collaboration with a Turkish defense contractor, STM.
In July 2018, Turkey got a multibillion-dollar tender to supply four corvettes to the Pakistan Navy, a deal dubbed as the biggest export for Turkey’s defense industry in history. As per the agreement, two ships will be built in Istanbul, and two others in Karachi.
Growing Turkish naval power, is an emergent concern also for Israel also, given Turkish ambitions regarding natural gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean and specifically in Cyprus.
Turkey also believes that China’s rise, is something to be cultivated to enhance its own national interests, not resisted in the name of transatlantic solidarity. This has played out in Turkey’s approach to China’s treatment of Muslims, which has been bereft of a stand.
China which has a strategy of positioning likely allies, at critical geopolitical junctures. Pakistan has been brought up as nuclear nation, and how A Q Khan got support from Chinese network, is well known, and provides China a hinge in the door to middle east.
Similarly for China, Turkey is another Hinge which racks up with Turkey’s old age rival Russia at one front and Europe-Middle east curtain on the adjacent side.
Pakistan being the most legitimate-looking foil to empower Turkey as a Nuclear state, more the belligerent, better it will be to hold off Russia and NATO later, is in Chinese scheme of things for East Europe and Africa.
Turkey’s burgeoning strategic relationship with Pakistan raises nuclear concerns, since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke openly in September about Ankara’s ambitions to pursue its own nuclear weapons programme.
The flourishing defence relationship with Pakistan and its possible/highly likely nuclear connection in turn, is poised to take place within a broader context of China. What Pakistan gets in return, is frivolous and meaningless association with the new Muslim World messiah Erdogan, mostly to feed to its domestic discontent audience.
Russia, though presently and overtly refraining to comment on Nuclear aspirations of Erdogan, is apprehensive, especially with China in fray. However the Russian Bear shall wait and watch, meanwhile sell as much military equipment to Turkey as possible, it needs it as economy.
While it’s interesting how the Saud-OIC and Americans will react to Pakistan’s position in this issue, however, it’s evident that we shall see Turkey going Iran’s way in next five years, with a fragmentary nuclear program and sanctions a galore.
Rash Erdogan, very rash.
14 Feb 20/Friday Written By: Fayaz