Washington (October 15, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement regarding U.S. nuclear weapons still stored in Turkey. According to public reporting, the United States stores roughly 50 B61 nuclear weapons at Incirlik Air Base, about 250 miles from Turkey’s border with Syria, which is now increasingly unstable following President Trump’s unilateral order to vacate U.S. troop positions. In recent years, Turkey has experienced internal crises, creating challenges for U.S. security personnel. During a Turkish political crisis in July 2016, Turkish authorities cut power to the base and prohibited American aircraft from flying in or out.
“President Trump should immediately order the removal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Turkey and launch a diplomatic initiative with our allies to ensure that we are fully upholding our defense commitments,” said Senator Markey. “Donald Trump failed by removing U.S. troops from near the border while neglecting to remove some of the world’s most dangerous weapons from a country increasingly in crisis.
“While Russia’s nuclear threat continues, our nuclear weapons deployment must reflect today’s evolving security environment. We have removed nuclear weapons from allied countries like Germany and South Korea before, and we must now act prudently once again, ignoring President Erdogan’s attempts to intimidate us by inflating the value of destructive nuclear arms.”