Turkey's Response to Threats of Weapons of Mass Destruction   [open pdf - 1MB]

Unlike most of its NATO allies, Turkey did not emerge from the Cold War with enhanced security. The acquisition of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missiles by its neighbors in the Middle East Iran, Iraq and Syria creates a serious security concern for Turkey. This thesis analyzes the numerous threats posed to Turkey by its neighbors' nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and their ballistic missiles. It evaluates Turkey's defense options to counter these threats and examines the credibility of NATO's security guarantees, including the nuclear guarantees the United States provides under NATO auspices. The thesis concludes that Turkey must acquire the capabilities to deny adversaries the benefits of these weapons. These capabilities including passive and active defenses as well as improved counterforce means will enable Ankara to strengthen deterrence and provide an effective defense should deterrence fail. Improving its preparedness for WMD contingencies should be an urgent, new priority for Turkey. The Turkish Armed Forces should have the necessary capabilities to fight, survive and prevail in NBC environments. In addition, NATO's security guarantees, which hinge ultimately on the U.S. nuclear presence and U.S. extended deterrence commitments in Europe, and Turkey's own national defense and deterrence posture, must remain convincing to Turkey as well as to the WMD-armed states that threaten Turkey.

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