Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Our Untenable Alliance with Turkey

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

There are about 5,000 members of the U.S. military, mostly airmen, stationed at the huge, strategically located air base in Incirlik, Turkey, northwest of the Syrian border.

The American forces at Incirlik are also the custodians of about 50 B61 nuclear bombs. Data on these weapons is classified, but at their maximum yield each is ten times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, according to Stars and Stripes.

It’s a “Dr. Strangelove” scenario: No one quite knows how the American contingent could manage to secretly remove the deadly nukes from their concrete vaults, bring them out to the tarmac, load them on planes and fly them out safely over Turkish objections.

Turkey in the past has threatened to go nuclear itself should the U.S. ever dare to transfer the lethal arsenal. Apparently, Turkey’s theory is that possession of bombs in one’s territory is nine-tenths of the law of nuclear weapons ownership.

In the aftermath of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, which led to a U.S. arms embargo, Turkey shut down all U.S. operations at Incirlik. American forces were expelled for three years — until Washington caved and resumed arms supplies.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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