Georgi Gotev is senior editor of EurActiv
I consulted with George Friedman before publishing the story US moves nuclear weapons from Turkey to Romania, which I wrote together with Joel Schalit. He warned me to be careful with our sources, because nukes are obviously sensitive for the US, “and whoever talks doesn’t know and those who do know wouldn’t talk”.
I kept this warning in mind, but we published the story anyway, despite the fact that the Romanian government strongly denied that the country had become home to American nuclear weapons. Of course, we quoted the Romanian government.
In contrast, NATO didn’t dismiss the report, but instead referred to paragraph 53 of the Communiqué of the NATO Warsaw Summit (published on 9 July), which says: “NATO’s nuclear deterrence posture also relies, in part, on United States’ nuclear weapons forward-deployed in Europe and on capabilities and infrastructure provided by Allies concerned. These Allies will ensure that all components of NATO’s nuclear deterrent remain safe, secure, and effective.”
Though the alliance has maintained a policy of ambiguity about the presence of US nuclear weapons on its soil, the idea that Romania had joined fellow NATO members in hosting them does not seem far fetched. Why Italy, for example, and not Bucharest? Or Germany, for that matter. The fact that Washington refrained from commenting on the reports reinforces the seriousness of the claims, particularly in contrast with Romania’s denials. These are American weapons, after all.
I am also aware that tensions between Turkey and the US have grown so much that moving the weapons would be a security priority for Washington. A prominent pro-government editor, Ibrahim Karagul, tweeted, “The nukes in Incirlik must be handed over to Turkey, or else, Turkey should take control of them.” Given the difficult political situation in the country, particularly for the press, Karagul was echoing statements already made in Ankara.