The newspaper cites sources from within the German Federal Intelligence Service and makes a compelling case that Turkey is seeking to become acquire nuclear weapons to compete with rival powers Israel and Iran.
The particularly scathing article takes direct aim at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan whom it compares to the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un and the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. “On Europe’s border with the Middle East there is a man with grand visions. The new president of Turkey wants a dynamic economy like that of Southeast Asia, while also drawing inspiration from Islamic devotion as well as the power of the Ottoman Empire. Like the Sultans who ruled through fear and displays of opulence,” Die Welt writes.
The odd terms of the deals
According to the article one of the reasons that the German secret services are paying close attention to Ankara is the country’s secret program to produce nuclear weapons. The Die Welt article maintains that the Turkish government is following the ‘Iranian model’ for the acquisition of a nuclear weapon: that is to develop it in secret under the cover of its civilian nuclear power program.
The newspaper maintains that in 2011, Turkey contracted the Russian company Rosatom Ankara to construct a reactor complex on the shores of the Mediterranean, 300 kilometers from the city of Antalya. Two years later the country struck a similar deal with a French-Japanese consortium.
However the agreements signed by Turkish government do not include the usual conditions for peaceful nuclear programs, i.e. that the uranium will be provided by the contracting companies who would also collect the spent nuclear waste. The Germans believe is a strong indication that Turkey will seek to undertake the enrichment itself in order to manufacture a plutonium bomb, perhaps from the spent fuel.
The German newspaper also stated that Ankara has already procured centrifuges for nuclear enrichment probably from Pakistan. It notes that Turkey has long had close ties with the Pakistani nuclear program, supplying the country with necessary electronics. The country also, “had a leading role in the activities of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear smuggler who provided 1987-2002 Iran, North Korea and Libya with thousands of centrifuges.”
2,500 km range missiles
Die Welt also states that in 2011, Erdogan – then prime minister of the country – had authorized the development of medium range missiles. Two years later, according to the article, research began for the construction of medium range missiles which could hit targets up to 2,500 kilometers away.
According to the article “medium-range missiles are suitable, due to their low accuracy and payload, only for weapons of mass destruction. A program for their preparation is a strong - a very strong - indication of an ongoing nuclear weapons program.”
The article is signed by Hans Rühle who from 1982 to 1988 was the Head of the Policy Planning Staff in the Department of Defense.