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Turkey is set to implement parts of an international pact that would potentially ban Russian warships from entering the Black Sea through a key transit point.
According to a Reuters report, Turkey said that the situation in Ukraine has turned into a ‘war’. This recognition will enable the country to prevent warships from accessing the Black Sea through Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits.
In an interview with broadcaster CNN Turk, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “It is not a couple of air strikes now, the situation in Ukraine is officially a war. We will implement the Montreux Convention.”
The 1936 Montreux Convention enables Turkey to prevent naval ships not based in Black Sea from entering during war or other specific circumstances.
However, ships returning to their registered bases will be exempted.
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Cavusoglu added in the interview: “There should not be any abuse of this exemption. Ships that declare returning to their bases and passing through the straits should not be involved in the war.”
The move comes after Ukraine requested Turkey to block the transit of Russian war vessels to the Black Sea. Notably, at least six Russian warships and a submarine passed through Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits this month, Reuters reported.
This is the second time in history that Turkey invoked the ‘state of war’ clause to ban warships in the Black Sea after World War II when it blocked German and Italian ships from using Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits.