Turkey Cuts Off Russian Warship Passage Through Bosphorus Strait; Know Its Strategic Importance

Russia has abstained from sending four of its warships through the Bosphorus strait following Turkey’s request. Ankara has closed the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits under the 1936 Montreux Convention pact.

The Montreux Convention is a world treaty that avails Turkey’s Bosporus and Dardanelles straits connecting the Black and Mediterranean Seas. The country can obstruct the passage of warships.

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It was signed on July 20, 1936, within the Montreux Palace in Switzerland, and took effect on November 9, 1936. This convention was signed to deal with the long-running straits questions of who should manage the strategically important route between the Black and Mediterranean Seas.

During peacetime, it grants full freedom of passage for all civilian vessels and allows Turkey to limit the movement of navies who don’t belong to the sea states. During wars, this pact avails Turkey to control naval warship transits and blocking of the strait for wars between countries in conflict. Advanced notifications should be provided by warships to the Turkish authorities, who then must notify the parties to the Convention.

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Despite being created for a particular geopolitical context, the Montreux Convention continues to be effective and may be a strong example of a rules-based international order since most of its terms are still respected. Controversies regarding its implementation were most noted during the proposed Kanal Istanbul. Another waterway would be provided by Kanal Istanbul to the ocean of Marmara from the Black Sea, and this might cause circumventing the Convention.

Implementation of the Montreux Convention

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The provisions of the convention reflected the planet situation within the mid-1930s to a good extent. They primarily benefited the Turks and Soviets by allowing Turkey to reclaim social control of the Straits and ensuring Soviet control of the Black Sea.

Although the convention limited the Soviet Union’s ability to send military service into the Mediterranean Sea, it also ensured that outside powers couldn’t use the Straits to threaten the country.

Russia-Ukraine Crisis

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian government requested that Turkey use its authority under the Montreux Convention to limit Russian vessels’ movement from the Mediterranean to the Euxine Sea. A minimum of six Russian warships and a submarine knowledgeable this strait.

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After some reluctance, thanks to Turkey’s close ties with both belligerents, Turkey’s secretary of state Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced that the govt would officially recognise the Russian invasion as war allowing the convention to be implemented with relation to military vessels.

However, Turkey cannot prevent Russian warships from returning to their registered base under the principles of the agreement.

Brief About  Bosporus And Dardanelles Straits

The Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, often referred to as the Turkish Straits or the Black Sea Straits, connect the Black and Aegean through the ocean of Marmara. It is the sole way for Euxine Sea ports to achieve the Mediterranean and further beyond.

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Every day, about three million barrels of oil, submit to this canal, the bulk of which is produced in Russia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan. Large amounts of iron, steel, and agricultural products are shipped from the sea coast to Europe and therefore the remainder of the globe along this route.