DEVELOPING: Turkey’s Erdogan reportedly requesting IAEA inspection of Israeli nuclear weapons
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be in the process of formally requesting an inspection of Israel’s nuclear weapon arsenal, according to Turkish and Russian news outlets.
The reports come shortly after Erdogan’s tense meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Friday, where Erdogan said:
Can the weaponry and strength of the Hamas be compared to the arsenal and power of Israel? Does Israel currently have nuclear weapons? Yes, but if you ask Israel, they won’t admit it because they are very good at using lies.
According to TRT World – the English-language arm of Turkey’s national public broadcaster TRT – Erdogan told journalists on his return flight home that his government is in the process of initiating the IAEA’s “verification mechanism” (bold added here, and throughout):
Urging that since Israel is not a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, it is not initially bound by its rules, he said, “Member countries can request a verification mechanism by the International Atomic Energy Agency for nuclear security. We are currently initiating this process.”
“Advancing this matter is crucial for balancing strategic interests in the region. We will continue to exert pressure from here. We, as Türkiye, are making this call. Israel’s nuclear weapons must be thoroughly inspected without delay. We will follow up on this. I appeal to the global public to not let this matter be forgotten,” he added.
The same basic thing was reported by Russia’s state-owned news outlet Sputnik today, with a slightly different translation:
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his government would push for an international investigation into Israel’s possible nuclear weapons capabilities in light of its threats against Gaza this Saturday.
“Over 1,000 lawyers have requested the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into these [Israel’s] war crimes, and the number of appeals continues to grow. This is just one side of it. Then again, Israel is not part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and therefore it is not bound by its rules. However, there are cases where member states can apply to the International Atomic Energy Agency to create an inspection mechanism for the sake of ensuring nuclear security. We are launching appropriate efforts right now,” Erdogan said on a flight home from Berlin.
Turkiye’s president maintains that the possible presence of nuclear arms in the country must be verified, “leaving no room for doubt”.
“The process will take time. The final judgment shall be submitted to the UN Security Council, the highest authority for monitoring nuclear-related matters. There is a chance that the US will side with Israel and veto the issue. However, the very fact that this topic is being discussed at all is remarkable.
“So far, this is the first instance where such a formal claim was registered against Israel. Keeping it going is vital for maintaining balanced strategic interests in the region. We will continue to push for it. Turkiye’s advocating for this matter as a nation. Israel’s nuclear weapons must be verified, leaving no room for doubt, before it is too late,” said the Turkish leader.
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