Creating new perspectives since 2009

Turkey recognises ‘war’ in Ukraine, set to limit Russian warships entering Black Sea

February 28, 2022 at 6:50 pm

Russian Navy’s Project 22160 Patrol Vessel Dmitriy Rogachev 375 [OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images]

Turkey has confirmed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine constitutes a “war”, enabling it to implement an international pact to limit Russian warships entering the Black Sea.

As Russia launched its full-scale invasion into Ukraine on Thursday last week, the Ukrainian government made a request to Turkey to prevent all Russian warships from entering the Black Sea through the Dardanelles and Bosphorus Straits.

Ankara said that it was not able to do so due to the 1936 Montreux Convention, which grants Turkey control over the Straits and allows Russia the right to return ships to their home base which, in this case, is by the Black Sea.

Turkey changed its tune yesterday, though, with Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, stating in an interview with CNN Turk that “It is not a couple of air strikes now, the situation in Ukraine is officially a war … We will implement the Montreux Convention.”

OPINION: The importance of Turkiye’s oversight of warship movements as possible Russia, Ukraine war heats up

He added, however, that Ankara is not able to stop Moscow’s ships from returning to their base in the Black Sea unless they are directly contributing to the war. “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.”

Turkey’s partial approval of Ukraine’s request comes as Russian forces continue to try to capture the capital, Kyiv, and puts the Turkish government in a difficult position as Ankara aims to maintain good relations with both warring countries.

Despite repeatedly condemning Russia’s invasion, Turkey has attempted to maintain its good relations with Ukraine and Russia, and has refrained from supporting sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government.

With negotiations taking place today between Moscow and Kyiv in neighbouring Belarus, Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu also expressed his pleasure at the news, reiterating that Ankara supports a ceasefire process.

READ: ‘Turkey cannot abandon ties with Russia or Ukraine’