Turkish opposition condemns detention of admirals due to the Montreux convention

The deputy head of the main opposition Turkish Republican People’s Party, Engin Ozkoch, and the leader of the Fatherland party, Muharrem Ince, condemned the detention of ten retired admirals for a letter in defense of the Montreux convention.

On Sunday, a letter from 103 retired Turkish admirals was published, who called the Montreux Convention a diplomatic victory for Turkey, which restored its sovereign rights to the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, and declared that it was unacceptable to discuss the revision of this agreement in connection with the Istanbul Canal project, which will take place in parallel the Bosphorus and will connect the Sea of ​​Marmara with the Black Sea.

The letter also expressed 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 of the country and condemned “attempts to show that the Turkish Armed Forces are departing from the precepts of the founder of the republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk”. On Monday, it was reported that the police detained 10 admirals who signed the letter.

“If there is an attempt at a coup or a hint of it, of course, we will all oppose. Our party is ready to oppose any attempt of a coup. But the topic of Montreux is the topic of admirals, sailors. If they do not make statements on this topic, then who? The imam of the Hagia Sophia mosque? Those who talk about freedom of speech are detaining admirals, accusing them of a coup attempt for expressing their concern for the interests of our country”, – Inge, who was Erdogan’s main rival in the 2018 Turkish presidential election, wrote on his Twitter.

Earlier, Erdogan said that the Montreux Convention on the mode of passage of ships through the Bosphorus will 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.

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 have been introduced in terms of class and duration of stay.

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