The Turkish Armed Forces have begun working on a project to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), broadcaster NTV reported on its website today.
A decision to launch the project was made in a July 17 meeting of the Defense Industry Executive Board, headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel. Erdoğan had previously requested that the military develop missiles with a 2,500-kilometer range.
The board decided to form a satellite launch center that would have a two-fold effect on Turkey’s aerospace and military endeavors. First, the center will enable Turkey to place its own satellites in orbit, and second, the center will allow the Turkish military to launch missiles that can navigate outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. Attaining an ICBM launch capability is reportedly the chief aim of the satellite launch center.
Far from being the moderate Muslim leader the Obama administration fools itself into believing he is, Prime Minister Erdogan, head of an openly Islamist party, is Antisemitic, anti-American, anti-democratic, and an Islamic supremacist.
And he wants ICBMs. If anyone wants to bet that he and his supporters will refrain from trying to tip those with nuclear warheads, you’re on.
The Turkish sultan was for centuries also the Islamic caliph, spiritual leader of the world’s Muslims, and the revival of the caliphate is the dream of Islamists, everywhere. A Turkish leader with nuclear missiles would have a strong claim on the leadership of a new caliphate, one that would have a hard time resisting the call to jihad.
There are regional geopolitical issues to worry about, too. Iran has its own nuclear and missile program and, while Iran and Turkey currently enjoy cordial relations as fellow Islamic supremacists, they have been rivals for hundred of years, fighting several wars with each other over influence in the Middle East and Central Asia. Those rivalries are buried, not dead, and Turkey has reason to want nukes if Iran gets them, too. And with its former province of Syria falling into chaos, Turkey is in a position to extend its influence over its ancient dominions in the Fertile Crescent. Possession of nuclear missiles would give it an edge over Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The same can be said with regard to Russia and the belt of Turkic language speakers ranging from Europe to China, over which Turkey has long dreamed of exerting influence and leadership. Much of this area used to be part of the Russian Empire and the USSR, and Moscow still thinks of it as its “sphere of influence.” Who wouldn’t want to see a nuclear-armed and angry Russia squared off against a newly-nuclear, inspired-by-jihad Turkey?
It’s been said that, if Iran gets nuclear weapons, other nations in the region will rush to get their own. That goes double if both Tehran and Ankara get the Big Firecrackers.
Sleep well, and hope that the next administration revives our missile defense program.
UPDATE: Think I’m exaggerating about Erdogan’s Islamism? Check out who’s visiting him at home.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)