CHP leader urges preservation of Montreux Convention during Ukraine crisis
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has urged the Turkish government to preserve the Montreux Convention during the recent escalation between the West and Russia in Ukraine.
“If someone, who does not know the history and the world, opens the Montreux Convention for discussion, we should all know the grave consequences that will occur,” he said, addressing CHP lawmakers in parliament on Feb. 22.
Kılıçdaroğlu also reiterated his objection to a possible war between Ukraine and Russia.
“We do not want a war in our region. Our history best describes the brutality of war. We all know that a war in the region will cause great damage to Turkey,” he said.
Inviting the parties to common sense must be the common demand of the whole world, Kılıçdaroğlu said. He emphasized that Russia has emerged stronger in the region compared to 2014 and the increase in natural gas and oil prices work for the benefit of Russia.
According to the 1936-dated Montreux Convention, merchant vessels enjoy the freedom of passage through the Turkish Straits, the Dardanelles and Bosphorus, while the passages of war vessels are subject to some restrictions which vary depending on whether these vessels belong to Black Sea riparian states or not.
Besides some general restrictions applicable to all, vessels of war belonging to non-riparian states are subject to specific restrictions such as those regarding maximum aggregate tonnage and the length of stay in the Black Sea.
According to the convention, aircraft carriers whether belonging to riparian states or not, can in no way pass through the Turkish straits. Only submarines belonging to riparian states can pass through the Turkish Straits, to re-join their base in the Black Sea for the first time after their construction or purchase, or repair in dockyards outside the Black Sea.
The total number and the maximum aggregate tonnage of all foreign naval forces which may be in course of passage through the Turkish Straits are limited to 9 and 15,000 tons respectively. The maximum aggregate tonnage that non-riparian states may have in the Black Sea is 45,000 tons. The maximum aggregate tonnage of the vessels of war that one non-riparian state may have in the Black Sea is 30,000 tons. Vessels of war belonging to non-riparian states cannot stay more than 21 days in the Black Sea.