Turkey Can Block Russian Warships

Published: 27 February 2022, 7:50 PM

By Shofi Ahmed

Turkish officials on Sunday have called Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine a “war.” . It’s a change in their rhetoric that could lead Turkey to block the passage of Russian warships to the Black Sea.

Turkey has control of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits that connect the Mediterranean and Black seas, in accordance with the 1936 Montreux Convention. Turkey is thus able to limit the passage of warships during wartime or if threatened according to Reuters.


Turkey previously enjoyed warm relationships with both Russia and Ukraine which has a diverse Muslim community. The country shares a maritime border with both in the Black Sea. Recently the Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey has urged the country to shut the straits to Russian warships.


However, up until now, Turkey had avoided referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a war, merely saying that Russia’s actions violated Ukraine’s “political unity and integrity” and were “unacceptable.”


The Turkish government rhetoric have changed now. “On the fourth day of the Ukraine war, we repeat President Erdoğan’s call for an immediate halt of Russian attacks and the start of ceasefire negotiations,” Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, tweeted Sunday.


“We will continue our efforts to help the people of Ukraine and end bloodshed in this unjust and unlawful war,” he added. The rhetorical shift was echoed by Turkish spokesperson Fahrettin Altun, who repeatedly referred to the conflict as a war in a series of tweets Sunday.


“Under these conditions, we will apply the Montreux agreement. Article 19 is pretty clear. In the beginning, it was a Russian attack and we evaluated it with experts, soldiers, and lawyers. Now it has turned into a war. This is not a military operation; it is officially a state of war,” Turkish official told CNN Türk on Feb. 27.


Meanwhile, Turkey again attempted to discuss a possible ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, and conducted telephone diplomacy with them over the weekend. Turkey is seeking a ceasefire between Moscow and Kiev, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Ukrainian counterpart on a phone call on February 26. The president expressed his condolences to the Ukrainian citizens killed in the Russian attack and wanted a quick recovery of the injured, he said.


On the same day, Foreign Minister Mebrut Chabshuol reiterated that Turkey was ready to host possible negotiations between Moscow and Kiev in a telephone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergeĭ Viklov.


“Turkey is ready to initiate possible negotiations between the Russian Federation and Ukraine,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry added. Chabshuol also urged Viklov to end the military operation in Ukraine. The minister told Viklov that further expansion of military tensions would not benefit anyone.


The efforts seem to be yielding results. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Russian delegation is now in the Belarusian city of Gomel. Zelenskyi has previously proposed to negotiate in Istanbul, Warsaw, Bratislava, Budapest, or Baku. Zelensky emphasised that Russia carried out part of the attack from Belarus on Ukraine. As such, he is only ready to negotiate where he shows that he is “not offensive” to his country.


Notably Ukraine has a diverse Muslim community, including recent immigrants from the North Caucasus and Central Russia, settled in the capital Kiev, Odessa (Black Sea), Dnipro (eastern Ukraine), and Lviv (near the Polish border). increase. Have. And elsewhere. Two places where Ukraine had the largest Muslim population before 2014, Crimea and Donbus, have been unable to attract Russian Muslims in recent years. Crimea, where historically the most active and diverse Islamic community in Ukraine was dominated by native Crimean Tatars, was annexed by Russia. Since then, some Muslims have emigrated to mainland Ukraine.