Russia Today reports that since November 30, Turkey has been delaying Russian military vessels from passing the Strait of Bosphorus. As a consequence, several dozens of ships have got stuck in the Strait.
“It should be noted that Turkey has no right to block the strait unilaterally. It is possible only if the country officially enters a war,” Russia Today reports.
EADaily recalls that Turkey has such right under Montreux Convention signed in July 1936 at the international conference involving the USSR, Turkey, Great Britain, France, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Yugoslavia, Australia, and Japan.
Does the blockade of the Russian military vessels on the Strait of Bosphorus mean that Turkey took advantage of the Montreaux Convention and, consequently, Ankara believes that Russia is in a state of war with Turkey? Military expert Anatoly Tsyganok, president of the Military Forecast Center, Professor at the Academy of Military Sciences, comments on the current situation to EADaily.
“Under Montreaux Convention, Turkey has a right to block the Strait of Bosphorus for Russian vessels only in case of war. In other cases, all the civilian ships must sail freely through the Strait, while the military vessels should notify Turkey about their passage beforehand. Another matter is that a notification may reach the recipient within several days. There is a time factor. Turkey’s leadership must study the text of the notification and adopt a decision. In addition, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has a right to keep the notification for a while and then send it to the Turkish leadership.
As Russia is not in the state war with Turkey, its ships can freely pass through Bosphorus and Dardanelles. Merchant vessels just need to undergo sanitary inspection when entering the straits. Military vessels sail freely after relevant notification through diplomatic channels. The notification must include the destination, the name, type and number of vessels as well as the passage date and whether the vessels will pass the straits on the return way. Turkish side must be informed about any changes in the date three days before.
According to media reports, Turkey has detained our ships at the entrance of the Bosphorus. Some media openly say Ankara has allegedly adopted a decision not to let our ships through the strait, which means that Turkey perceives its relations with Russia as a war. However, I think no one needs a Russian-Turkish war now: neither Turkey nor NATO, and much less Russia.
I think Turks have detained our vessels for a reason. Ankara does not want to war with us. However, it does not want that Russia’s air strikes in Syria conflict zone affect its interests there. I am speaking about oil business of ISIL that is controlled by Erdogan’s family from behind. If the Russian forces did not target the secret oil empire of the Jihadists, Erdogan would take our operation in Syria easier. The Turkish fight jet would not shot down our aircraft. The Western media would not take advantage of the situation and alarm of “Russia’s aggression against civilians in Syria.
As I have said already, Turkey will not declare war against us. However, Ankara will be creating problems to us and keep “flexing muscles” for a while. Turkey will be creating artificial tension in the region. Recently, Ankara has deployed Koral electronic jamming systems on the border with Syria. It is a land based radar electronic warfare system that detects and targets missiles and warplanes. Reportedly, Ankara did it in retaliation to deployment of our S-400 missile systems in Syria. Let’s wait and see what will happen next. Yet I think even a trigger-happy politician like Erdogan will not dare to unleash an armed conflict with Russia.
Ankara’s aggressive actions against our militaries are a publicity move targeted at the domestic audience – Turkish voters, not to the West. Yet no one can say what will happen next. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) is sure that it is free to act in Syria the way it wants without reckoning with either the EU or NATO. In summer 2012, Ankara said it was going to build a military-political bloc in the Muslim world on the example of NATO. Erdogan’s teacher, the former prime minister Necmettin Erbakan, declared yet five year ago that Turkey’s NATO membership is useless, as NATO can protect no one. In addition, he said, the NATO leadership is “hostile to Islam.” Given all the nuances of what is happening now, I tend to think that closing the Strait of Bosphorus for our vessels is not casus belli. I think it is not in favor of Turkey to openly war with Russia. However, the blockade, though temporary, means that Turkey will be impeding our military operation in Syria by all means possible, as our forces are destroying ISIL, and consequently, damaging the business interests of Erdogan’s family. Therefore, Turkey will be using legitimate reasons, for instance, the Montreaux Convention – the part concerning the notifications about passage of military vessels, inspections, searches, red tape and others. Ankara will long work on our nerves. We must be ready for it.”