Update on Turkish talk of developing nuclear weapons
Almost three weeks ago Hayrettin Karaman, a notable pro-Erdoğan imam, advocated that Turkey develop weapons of mass destruction (i.e. nuclear weapons).1 This story was reported on by news outlets like Turkish Minute, which only presented in English a portion of Karaman’s article on the matter, which was in Turkish. MEMRI has picked up on the story and has provided a fuller translation of Karaman’s article which provides more context. Here is a portion of the MEMRI translation (emphasis mine):2
“While the West does whatever it wants to do with the East, and especially with Turkey, a potential leader, it does not rely on the power of rights, laws, justice, or modern values, but on monetary and military strength.
If the East wants to stop being oppressed, it is not enough for its religion to be true and its cause to be just; in an era dominated by the strong and not the just, it must be stronger than its enemy.
The first condition for this is for the victimized and oppressed East to unite and cooperate. After entering the path of unity and cooperation, collaboration with lesser evils to cross barriers is feasible, it it is a must.
Once upon a time, military strength consisted of arrows and horse. But now it consists of effective weapons invented using our era’s knowledge and technology–nuclear being the most relevant–and tools that allow for the use of such weapons.
Without wasting any time, or turning a deaf ear to the West’s complaints and obstacles, we need to start not buying but inventing these weapons. Let us invent and balance these weapons out. Let us not use weapons of mass destruction unless it is necessary–and the path to not using them is to have more powerful versions of them than the enemy’s.”
So Karaman is arguing that for Turkey to be able to compete with the West and to be able to resist and deter off the West, then it must develop advance weapon systems including nuclear weapons.
It is also interesting to not that another Turk who has called for Turkey developing nuclear weapons, Ibrahim Karagül,3 is rather peeved that Western media, particularly the U.K. media, were alarmed by his comments. In a March 30 article entitled Throw that photograph in their faces! We won’t give up so easily Karagül wrote (under the sub-header “We said ‘nuclear’ UK papers took alarm”):4
“They fly into a rage when Turkey says, ‘We need to mobilize for extraordinary defense by taking into account the globally rising threats or threats directed to itself, including nuclear weapons.’ European newspapers, U.K. newspapers line up to omit [?] the “nuclear” statement, mix in a heap of lies and then present the news. Their intention is to pump a new Turkey fear into the entire West.”
Firstly Karagül’s use of the word “omit” seems misplaced, since if U.K. papers omitted his comment about nuclear weapons, then instead of them trying to play up the threat of Turkey, they would be doing the opposite and attempting to minimize it. As such I assumed he made a spelling mistake or used the wrong word (English is not his first language). Nonetheless I find it odd that Karagül is bothered by Western media being alarmed (they should be) by his opinion that Turkey needs to develop nuclear weapons to counter the West.
I recommend that people pay attention to Turkey on the matter of nuclear weapons, as I suspect that more Turks will join Karagül and Karaman and call for their country to develop nuclear weapons.