ANKARA, April 4 – RIA Novosti. Turkey must strictly follow the Montreux convention on the status of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, discussions on the possibility of withdrawing from it in connection with the Istanbul canal project are unacceptable, 103 Turkish retired admirals said in an open letter.
As Turkish Minister of Environment and Urban Development Murat Kurum said earlier, the plan for the construction of the Istanbul Canal, which will run parallel to the Bosphorus and connect the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea, has been approved.
Earlier, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that the Montreux Convention on the mode of passage of ships through the Bosphorus would not apply to the projected Istanbul Canal. At the same time, according to the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the republic, Mevlut Cavusoglu, the channel's project is not aimed at Turkey's abandonment of the Montreux convention. Russian Ambassador to Turkey Alexei Yerkhov told RIA Novosti that the presence or absence of an additional waterway in the form of the Istanbul canal between the Black and Marmara seas will not change the international legal regime of the convention.
“Recently, we have been following with concern the discussion of the Istanbul Canal and the Montreux Convention in the context of the jurisdiction over which international treaties can be abrogated. The Turkish Straits are one of the most important waterways in the world and have historically been governed in accordance with international treaties. The last of these treaties is the convention. Montreux protects Turkey's rights in the best way, “the letter says.
It is noted that this is not only a treaty regulating passage through the straits, but also “a great diplomatic victory that restored Turkey's sovereign rights to Istanbul, the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and Dardanelles.”
“The Montreux Convention is the main security document of the Black Sea countries and the convention that makes the Black Sea the sea of peace. It is a convention that gives Turkey the right not to enter a war without its desire on the side of one of the belligerents, which allowed it to remain neutral in World War II.” , – say the admirals.
“For these and similar reasons, we believe that any discussion and action that could lead to the Montreux Convention becoming the subject of discussion should be avoided,” the letter says.
The letter also expresses an opinion on the need to preserve the current constitution of Turkey against the background of calls by Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan to develop a new basic law, and also condemns the departure of the leadership of the Turkish Armed Forces from “the path outlined (by the founder of the republic) Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.”
The Montreux Convention, adopted in 1936, preserves the freedom of passage through the straits for merchant ships of all countries, both in peacetime and in wartime. However, the regime of passage of warships is different in relation to the Black Sea and non-Black Sea states. For the warships of the non-Black Sea powers, significant restrictions on class and duration of stay have been introduced.