Most experts believe that the United States maintains 50 Cold War B-61 bomber bombs in Turkey. Weapons are part of NATO's deterrent strategy and must be decided unanimously by all 28 Member States.
“We are confident and have a great – great air base there, a very powerful air base. Only this air base can take any place. This is a big powerful air base, "Trump replied, obviously acknowledging that US nuclear weapons are stored in Turkey.
" And, you know, Turkey – just so people remember – Turkey is a NATO member. We need to get along with our NATO members and Turkey is a NATO member. Do people want us to start shooting "for a NATO member? That would be the first. And it has to do with the NATO relationship," he added.
However, Turkey's military offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria following Trump's withdrawal of US troops from the region has called into question its status as a US and NATO ally.
And despite Trump's comments to the contrary, Turkey's actions prompted officials from the State Department and the Ministry of Energy to carry out an urgent review to evaluate the removal of nuclear weapons from Incirlik and at what rate, if so, a source informed by question. he told CNN.
CNN contacted State Department for comment.
While it remains unclear whether the administration will move forward with a plan to move these assets, sources tell CNN that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are backing the possibility study, as several lawmakers believe the move is long overdue overdue.
The United States has long had nuclear weapons in Turkey, most notably Jupiter rockets, which John F. Kennedy secretly withdrew from the country following the Cuban Missile Crisis since 1
Incirlik, a joint US-Turkish air base, was established in the 1950s in southeastern Turkey. The base has played a critical role in the fight against ISIS since the US began strikes in nearby Syria.
US nuclear weapons security issues located in Turkey have been raised on a consistent basis since the unsuccessful 2016 coup against Erdogan, and the issue has been under constant review by US military personnel in recent years.
But these fears have gained new urgency due to Turkey's actions in Syria
"The next question for Trump (and the DoD) should be why the US continues to stockpile nuclear weapons in Turkey, given that Turkey is increasingly a more unreliable ally, "and" the proximity of weapons to a war zone, "CNN Rafe, director of disarmament and threat reduction policy at the non-partisan gun control association, told CNN.
The number of bombs on Incirlik has dropped in the last two decades from 90 in 2000, according to Hans M. Christensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Non-profit Federation of American Scientists, who notes that about 40 have been sent back for USA around 2005 as part of George W. Bush's unilateral nuclear reduction in Europe.
Barbara Starr and Ryan Brown of CNN contributed to this report.