Dozens of US nuclear weapons stored at a Turkish air base near Syria are at risk of being captured by “terrorists or other hostile forces”, a Washington think tank said on Monday.
The US has an estimated 50 nuclear bombs at Incirlik in southern Turkey, 110km from the border with Syria.
The base’s Turkish commander was arrested on suspicion of complicity in last month’s coup plot.
“Whether the US could have maintained control of the weapons in the event of a protracted civil conflict in Turkey is an unanswerable question,” said Monday’s report from the Stimson Center, a nonpartisan think tank working to promote peace.
Incirlik is a vital base for the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria, giving drones and warplanes fast access to IS targets.
“From a security point of view, it’s a roll of the dice to continue to have approximately 50 of America’s nuclear weapons stationed at Incirlik,” report co-author Laicie Heeley said.