With tensions threatening to reach breaking point between the US and North Korea it has emerged Turkey could be trying to build up its weaponry as relations with the EU reach a new low.
In a worrying claim, an expert has warned Turkey is the next country looking to expand its arsenal to include atomic bombs.
Abdullah Bozkurt, a government-critical Turkish journalist, has dramatically revealed what he called ‘secret plans’ for Ankara to acquire the ultimate weapon.
Despite Turkey having the second largest-Nato army, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan presiding over 40,000 soldiers, Mr Bozkurt said his ambitions were far greater.
Mr Bozkurt said the talks focussed on the construction of two nuclear power plants in Turkey, arousing his suspicions.
And his fears seem to be bolstered by Turkish expert Aykan Erdemir, of the US Thinktank Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Mr Erdemir, a former member of the Turkish parliament, said: “Erdogan has a strong desire to turn Turkey into a nuclear power, but doesn’t have the capacity.”
But he outlined obstacles to Mr Erdogan’s perceived plans.
A little over a year on from a failed coup, which saw hundreds killed and heralded the dawn of a crackdown of public sector workers, Mr Erdemir said the Turkey’s ability to get the project off the ground was compromised.
Despite teething problems, he identified popular demand for the country to be nuclear armed.
He said: “Turkey lacks financial resources and personnel for such an expensive and high-tech project.
“The government-friendly media often exaggerates the strength of the military to increase morale in Turkey.”
And continuing the purge of the armed forces beginning after the putsch, Mr Erdogan has fired 160 of the 324 generals of the Turkish army in the past few months.
He has also culled thousands of soldiers from high ranking positions.
Mr Erdemir believes Mr Erdogan is rooting out any dissidents and anyone who would not back his nuclear dream.
The worrying claims coming out of Turkey come as Ankara finds itself embroiled in a political spat with the EU, particularly Berlin.
The bitter row has seen relations steadily deteriorate, with Mr Erdogan saying in April the EU “a continent that is rotting in every which way”.
Recently Berlin issued new travel warnings for tourists visiting the country, and foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel said he could no longer guarantee investment in Turkey following accusations made by Mr Erdogan.
The President accused German companies of colluding with the man he views as his political enemy – and who he suspects was behind the failed coup last year – Fethullah Gülen.
And in a painful move for Ankara, Mr Gabriel added he would discuss with other EU leaders the prospect of reviewing pre-accession funds being offered.