Turkey closes its strait to passing foreign warships

  • The Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits, two of the busiest and most famous passages in the world, could continue to be transited by unarmed ships

  • Although the measure affects all countries, it is specifically designed to limit Russia’s access to the Black Sea

After days of “reflection” following the request of Ukraine, Turkey responded this Tuesday evening and closed the passage of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles strait -the two steps that join Mediterranean Sea with him Black Sea– to all foreign warships.

According to the Montreux Convention of 1936, Turkey, if it is at war or in serious threatened their national security, he can unilaterally close the passage of the straits to the navies of other countries. The last time the famous Bosphorus Strait, one of the trade and strategic routes largest in the world, was closed during the second World War.

“We apply what Montreux says, and we will continue to do so. Until today, there have been no requests to cross the strait. Our objective is to try to prevent the situation from getting worse “, he said this morning, quoted by the Turkish State Agency Anadoluthe Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Although the measure announced by the government of ankara affects all countries that want to send their warships to the region, the latter aiming above all to limit Russia, which has the largest naval fleet in the eastern Mediterranean.

Now the convention stipulates that, despite the fact that the straits are closed, a foreign military ship will be able to cross them if you return to your port. If, for example, a Russian warship is currently in the Mediterranean and wishes to return to the Black Sea port where it is registered, it will be able to do so despite Turkey’s announcement.

diplomatic symbolism

In addition, a large part of the Russian Southern Fleet – divided before the war between the Black Sea coast and those of Syria– is already ahead of Ukraine, where since last Friday the Russian President, Vladimir Poutineleads a military invasion that led to war.

Therefore, the decision to close the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus should not have much military impact in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but he has it politically and diplomatically.

“Closing the strait will hardly affect Ukraine’s wars, but it could undermine Russia’s ability resupply its forces in Syria. Or, at the very least, force it to use air instead of sea. This means a much longer and more expensive route,” writes the Turkey analyst. Aaron Stein.

Don’t bother the neighbor

Thus, to date, Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan he tried to maintain a difficult balance between Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin. Although Ankara described the war as a Russian invasion, the Turkish government opposed sanctions against Moscow. Nor did it close its airspace to Russian aircraft, freeze Russian banking investments in Turkey, or take any other punitive action against Russia.

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Closing its strait, even if it is more a political decision than a military one, is the first reprisals that Turkey takes in this conflict. “The problem is that Turkey changed his outlook. They did not want to make this decision, but the resurgence of the invasion and the international support for Kyiv They overturned the narrative in Ankara & rdquor ;, considers Stein.

Turkey, however, will continue to try not to anger Moscow. With a runaway economic crisis in the Anatolian country, the Erdogan government fears losing one of your biggest business partners who, in addition to wanting it, could heat up the Syrian conflict and send to over millions of refugees on the southern borders of Turkey.

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