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Turkey’s non-nuclear weapon status: A theoretical assessment

Udum, Şebnem; (2007) Turkey’s non-nuclear weapon status: A theoretical assessment. [Letter]. ISYP Journal on Science and World Affairs , 3 (2) pp. 57-65. Gold open access


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Turkey’s security policy upholds nuclear (and WMD) nonproliferation and commitment to the regimes concerned. In the post-Cold War and post-9/11 world, military threats to Turkey’s security emanate mainly from the Middle East, where security is still defined in a Realist world. Turkey has several issues with its neighbours and maintains strategic balance with superiority or rough equality in its military power, its alliances, and to a lesser extent, economic ties. This paper analyses Turkey’s policy as a non-nuclear weapon state amid uneasy neighbours, which have had WMD and/or nuclear programs, through the lenses of several International Relations theories that explain proliferation dynamics: Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism, and other theories explaining state behaviour by opening the ‘black box’. The analysis reveals the pillars that make up the policy including motivations and constraints. The post-9/11 US security and foreign policy and Iran’s nuclear program are independent variables that introduce intervening variables (like the effects on the regime and norms) which have impacts on these motivations and reconstraints. The paper distinguishes between (i) the presence of motivations to pursue a nuclear weapons capability, (ii) working to keep the ‘nuclear option’ open and (iii) the actual decision to go nuclear. The main argument is that the independent variables have challenged the maintenance of the policy as a security asset, and Turkey may consider a ‘nuclear option’ when this asset converges into a security deficiency. The paper concludes with recommendations to keep Turkey on the current track.

Type: Article
Title: Turkey’s non-nuclear weapon status: A theoretical assessment
Open access status: An open access publication
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > STEaPP
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1540402
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