Istanbul summit: throw nukes out of NATO

Press release - 28 June, 2004
Despite unprecedented security measures, Greenpeace activists today, unfurled a flag off the Bosphorous Bridge to protest against NATO's irrational nuclear policy. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Summit opens today in Istambul. A dove of peace holding a nuclear missile in its beak appears on the Greenpeace banner with the phrase "Nukes out of NATO", to highlight the military alliance's hypocrisy in trying to "make peace" by way of using the threat of nuclear weapons.

"NATO is the world's largest military nuclear alliance. NATO is about 'keeping the peace' through a threat - the threat of using nuclear weapons- and threats are the least likely way to achieve peace and stability in the world," said Nicky Davies from Greenpeace International. The Istanbul Summit will mark the first meeting of NATO's heads of state since it has expanded to 26 member nations. The accession of seven new member states reaffirms the importance of NATO countries starting the process of nuclear disarmament.

Greenpeace has consistently campaigned for a world free of nuclear weapons. The US, Britain and France possess over ten thousand nuclear weapons all together. There are also over 150 nuclear bombs placed in six NATO member States, including Turkey, provided by the US and assigned for use by NATO.

Yet, some countries have been able to say no to NATO coercion: Denmark, Norway and Spain have made a conscious decision to not allow the deployment of NATO nuclear weapons on their territories, and Greece has successfully requested the removal of the nuclear arms in its territory.

In 1971, 184 countries made a commitment to achieve complete nuclear

disarmament under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. More than thirty years later, nuclear disarmament still has not been achieved. To the contrary, with the US Administration already having changed its nuclear policy, justifying the use of nuclear weapons first, even in conventional conflict, rather than only when threatened with a nuclear strike, the world is more at risk from nuclear conflict than at any time since the Cold War.

As NATO nuclear policy traditionally mirrors that of the US, leaders of NATO member countries, meeting for the first time this morning, must send a clear message to the US Administration that this time NATO will not follow in its footsteps.

"If the leaders of the world's most powerful nations feel they have come to Istanbul to promote peace here on the bridge between Europe and Asia in the way the vast majority of Europeans demand, they will do so by saying no to Bush's nuclear doctrine, no to NATO nuclear weapons altogether, and no to the concept that deadly nuclear arms can in any way promote peace" said Ozgur Gurbuz from Greenpeace Mediterranean.