The United States deployed thousands of shorter-range nuclear weapons with U.S. forces in Europe, Japan, and South Korea, and on ships around the world, throughout the cold war era. These weapons were planned to lengthen deterrence and defend allies in Europe and Asia. While most were withdrawn in the 1990s, the United States holds around 200 B61 bombs in Europe. These serve not only to deter potential aggressors, but also as an important element in NATO’s structure. While all NATO nations apart from France contribute in NATO’s nuclear planning, some also store U.S. weapons on their soil and provide aircraft that could deliver them in a conflict. The Cold War-era nuclear weapons are part of NATO’s deterrence strategy.
A US think tank has asked for the withdrawal of nuclear arms from Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, saying the country is in disorder and is too close to the Syria conflict zone. The report prepared by the Stimson Center nonprofit think tank, titled B61 Life Extension Program: Costs and Policy Considerations’, questions the safety of American nuclear weapons stored at Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base.
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