Montreux Convention

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In response to Russian war over Ukraine, Turkey is set to activate the Montreux Convention. Despite calls from the west to put an end to the tensions, Russia recognized the Ukraine rebel regions in eastern Ukraine namely Donetsk and Luhansk. The Russian war vessels have been banned from entering the Black Sea through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits. The Bosporus and Dardanelles straits are also known as the Turkish Straits or the Black Sea Straits and they connect the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea via the Sea of Marmara.

The Montreux Convention was signed by Australia, France, Bulgaria, Japan, Greece, Romania, Yugoslavia, the UK, the Soviet Union, and Turkey and the same has been in effect since November 1936. The Convention sets limits on the passage of civilian vessels and military warships through the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits.

Istanbul Canal and the Turkish Straits

About

  • The Black Sea Straits is the only passage through which the Black Sea ports could access the Mediterranean and beyond.
  • The waterway allows over three million barrels of oil, about 3 % of the daily global supply that are produced mostly in Russia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan every day.
  • Large amounts of iron, steel and agricultural products are also shipped from the Black Sea coast to Europe including rest of the world.
  • Turkey through the Montreux Convention regarding the Regime of the Straits got control over the water route between the Black Sea.
  • Russia has built up a major navy base at Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula.
  • Any ship moving to and from the Mediterranean and beyond must pass through the two straits that are controlled by Turkey.

Key Elements of the Montreux Convention

  • In times of war, the Turkey could regulate the transit of naval warships and block the straits to warships that belong to the countries indulged in the conflict.
  • Countries like Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, or any other having coastline on the Black Sea must notify Turkey eight days in advance of its intention for sending vessels of war through the straits.
  • For countries not having coastline on the Black Sea must notify Turkey in 15 days advance.

Turkey՚s Role in Russia Ukraine Crisis

  • As both Ukraine and Russia are the important partners of Turkey in its critical energy and military trade agreements, the Turkey government finds itself in a complex situation.
  • Turkey held that it cannot block all Russian warships accessing the Black Sea since a clause in the pact exempts such ships that are returning to their registered base.
  • Since 1952, Turkey is a NATO member and it wants to strengthen its ties with the West without upsetting Russia at the same time.
  • Turkey during World War II prevented the Axis powers from sending their warships to attack the Soviet Union and further blocked the Soviet navy from its participation in combat in the Mediterranean.

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