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In Turkey, the Road to Proliferation Goes Through a Military Base

Jan 21, 2020 | 09:30 GMT
Aircraft prepare to take off from Turkey's Incirlik Air Base, home of Turkey's 10th Tanker Base Command, on Oct. 17, 2019.

For the United States, the military fallout of having to leave Incirlik Air Base might not be too severe -- unlike the political ramifications.

(IBRAHIM ERIKAN/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The United States has troops scattered at bases throughout the Middle East, but few are as significant today as its facilities in Turkey -- at least in terms of their political significance, if not their military function. Last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to retaliate against any U.S. sanctions by, among other measures, expelling the United States from Incirlik Air Base and closing down the Kurecik radar base. From an American military standpoint, losing Incirlik and Kurecik wouldn't be the end of the world, as Washington could easily find alternative locations elsewhere in the Middle East. The country's potential expulsion, however, could have far-reaching consequences, potentially even precipitating a Turkish nuclear arms program -- which could touch off a race for atomic weapons around the region. ...

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