Turkey urges Russia to drop Montreux off the agenda

Turkey urges Russia to drop Montreux off the agenda

Turkey urges Russia to drop Montreux off the agenda

“We would never allow the violation of the Montreux Convention whatsoever," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu says. AA Photo

Consecutive statements from top Russian officials blaming Turkey for the violation of the sensitive Montreux Convention by NATO countries amid an ongoing crisis over Ukraine have seriously disturbed the Turkish government.

In the wake of the tension the Russian envoy to the Foreign Ministry was summoned.

“We would never allow the violation of the Montreux Convention whatsoever. This is important for the stability of the Black Sea and the security of Istanbul and the Straits,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was quoted as saying by the Anadolu Agency during his visit to Japan April 13.

Recalling that the Black Sea region is passing through very critical moments over the Ukrainian crisis, Davutoğlu admitted that there could at times be disagreements with Russia at such periods.

“It’s our success to be able to resolve disagreements with Russia through dialogue. We sit down and discuss when disagreements appear.  We don’t allow permanent tension, everybody should be well aware of it. Turkey will continue to implement the Montreux Convention in a meticulous way, as it has always been,” he said. 

Down playing analysis on a potential Turkish-Russian tension in the region, the foreign minister said:

“In this frame, it would be wrong to talk about a tension and crisis between Turkey and Russia. Turkey implements the Montreux Convention.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had criticized Turkey early April for turning its back on American vessels’ violations of the convention by allowing their stay in the Black Sea more than 21 days as outlined in the 1936-dated treaty. Although Lavrov’s statements were denied by Ankara, Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov repeated them in a conference last week, drawing a fresh response from the Foreign Ministry.

Karlov was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on April 11 over Russian officials’ insistent statements on the implementation of the Montreux Convention.

“We are perplexed by the Russian Federation’s insistence on keeping the implementation of the Montreux Convention on the agenda,” read the written statement issued by the Foreign Ministry over the weekend.

Recalling that Russia claimed that USS Taylor stayed in the Black Sea more than 21 days, the ministry recalled that “the aforementioned ship was stuck due to propeller damage which occurred while entering the port of Samsun.

 As reparation efforts yielded no result, the ship was towed outside the Black Sea and the Straits.”
“The allegation that the Montreux Convention was violated because of the time spent in trying to repair a damaged ship which was incapable of moving at our seaport is incomprehensible,” it said.

The second U.S. ship, USS Truxtun, left the Black Sea within 21 days and there was no violation whatsoever, it explained.  “As it has done over the past 78 years, Turkey will keep conscientiously implementing the Montreux Convention, which significantly contributes to the security of the Black Sea littoral countries. We believe that discussing technical provisions of the Convention through the media will not benefit anyone, particularly the Black Sea littoral countries which are parties to it,” it added.