“To be able to transfer nuclear weapons from one NATO base to another, there should be a corresponding NATO decision as it is part of the potential of the allied group of NATO,” the political scientist explained.
Such a decision should be made in Brussels upon the request of Washington, he further said. But while it is not very difficult for the US to enforce such a decision, how would the US possibly remove its nukes as all the air and ground movement in and out of the base has been blocked after the failed coup attempt in Turkey.
None of the US aircraft are allowed to take off from this base as the airspace is fully blocked by the Turkish Air Forces, Manoilo said. It is equally impossible to transport the nukes on the ground.
So while the US is desperate to get control back over its nuclear arsenal, it has no actual opportunity to do so.
According to the political scientist, the base has become a bargaining chip in relations between Washington and Ankara.
“The discrepancies between Washington and Ankara are profound and the Incirlik base has become a bargaining chip in the conflict between Presidents Erdogan and Obama,” he said.
The expert explained that by such a move Recep Tayyip Erdogan is both ensuring his life and threatening the US. And his possible message is: if the Americans do not drop their idea to topple him militarily or otherwise, he will seize the nuclear arsenal.
And with the nuclear arsenal he would become an extremely serious figure, said Manoilo.
“It is not a bluff,” he told Sputnik.
“Erdogan could easily capture the NATO air base. He understands perfectly well that Washington has already convicted him. And if he doesn’t take some action, and Washington is not afraid of him and is not in need of him, sooner or later the Americans will repeat their coup attempt,” said the political analyst.
He further suggested that Erdogan has nothing to lose through this blackmail, and he sees it as one of the last guarantees of his immunity.
He is not lifting the blockade and this could only mean that Erdogan is trying to apply a policy of containment towards the US, Andrei Manoilo concluded.
Earlier this week the Brussels-based online paper EurActive.com reported citing its own sources, that the United States had started transferring its nuclear munitions in Turkey to the Derveselu air base in Romania.
The Romanian foreign ministry firmly denied the information that the country has become home to US nukes.
“I’m sure that my sources are trustworthy, that’s why I wrote this article. I realize that the Romanian authorities are denying this. I knew they would as I contacted them before I published it. This is a secret matter, but I thought that my sources are reliable enough to justify the publication of this information,” the author Georgi Gotev said in an interview with online newspaper Romania Libera.
He said he planned a follow up story on this subject even though everything he writes about Romania invariably causes a scandal.
Gotev said that the alleged transfer of US nuclear bombs from the Incirlik air base came against the background of worsening relations between Washington and Ankara.
“After the recent failed coup Turkey is exiting the western camp and is turning towards Russia,” Gotev noted.
“This is a tectonic movement that is bigger than a mere transfer of weapons, even nuclear. There is an extremely dynamic geopolitical context here. The Moscow-Ankara-Tehran axis now in the making will radically change the regional situation,” he emphasized.