NATO installation hosting one of the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons in Europe is in Turkey.
After a faction within the Turkish military tried to overthrow the Turkish government last month, one of the many arrested for his alleged role in the attempted coup was a commanding officer at the Incirlik Air Base.
What if anti-American Turkish protesters, believing the U.S. was behind the coup plot and that it was harboring the coup’s leader (ominously reminiscent of how Iranians felt about America and the shah 37 years ago) decided to march on Incirlik chanting anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans (as has actually happened) and taken over the base?
Leaving aside the coup, what if Islamic State were to attack Incirlik? In March, the Pentagon reportedly ordered military families out of southern Turkey, primarily from Incirlik, due to terrorism-related security concerns.
While we’ve avoided disaster so far, we have ample evidence that the security of U.S. nuclear weapons stored in Turkey can change literally overnight. Now fully aware of the dangers, the Obama administration should remove any remaining nuclear weapons from Turkey – and the next president should remove all U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe.