Turkish President – and man who isn’t sure what’s worse, rate hikes or Kurds – Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants nukes.
And his rationale is pretty simple, as nuke rationales go.
“Some [countries] have nuclear missiles, [but they tell us] we shouldn’t have them”, he said Wednesday, speaking to AKP members in Sivas. “This, I cannot accept”, he added.
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He elaborated a bit further, as he’s wont to do.
“There is no developed nation in the world that doesn’t have them”, he mused. For what it’s worth (which is nothing in the context of an Erdogan speech), that’s not true. As Reuters rather dryly notes, “many developed countries do not have nuclear weapons [and] Turkey signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1980 [as well as] the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty”.
Erdogan pointed to Israel as an example of the regional power imbalance created by nuclear weapons. “We have Israel nearby, as almost neighbors. They scare people by possessing these”, he said. “No one can touch them”.
This comes amid Ankara’s on-again/off-again spat with Washington around the S-400 purchases, which Erdogan moved ahead with even though it meant risking expulsion from the F-35 program.
On Thursday, Erdogan threatened to “open the gates” and send Syrian refugees into Europe if he doesn’t get the “safe zone” he wants to establish in conjunction with the US. “We cannot be forced to handle the burden alone”, he insisted.
Turkey has taken in millions of Syrians over the course of the country’s prolonged civil war. Now, as Erdogan attempts to fend off recession, he seems determined to push the issue with the West.
“We did not receive the support needed from the world and especially from the European Union, concerning the burden-sharing”, he said.