Russia-Ukraine war: Turkey warns countries not to pass warships through straits
Turkey's foreign minister on Monday said that Ankara warned both Black Sea and non-Black Sea countries not to pass warships through its Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits.
"We implemented what Montreux says, and we will do so from now on. There has been no request for passage through the straits until today," Mevlut Cavusoglu said, according to the state news agency Anadolu.
Under the 1936 Montreux Convention, Turkey has control over the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits that connect the Mediterranean and Black seas and can limit the passage of warships during wartime or if threatened.
Turkey on Sunday called Russia's invasion of Ukraine a "war", allowing it to invoke articles under the pact that could limit the passage of some Russian vessels through its straits.
Cavusoglu on Sunday, however, stressed that even under the treaty, both countries still have the right to move vessels back to their home ports in the Black Sea.
At least four Russian ships are currently waiting on Turkey's decision to let them cross the straits.
Turkey 'determined to prevent escalation'
Earlier on Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would use the authority given by the Montreux Convention to prevent any escalation in the conflict.
Erdogan added that Turkey could not abandon its ties with Ukraine and Russia, both of whom share a border with Ankara, but stressed he was "very saddened" by Moscow’s aggression on its southern neighbour.
"Turkey is determined to use the authority given by the Montreux Convention on Turkish straits in a manner to prevent escalation of the Russia-Ukraine crisis," Erdogan said in a press conference after a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.
He said Turkey would not compromise on its commitments to its alliances, including Nato, but that it could also not turn back on “national interests” in its region.
“Turkey has strictly fulfilled its responsibilities within the framework of the institutions and alliances with which it is involved, especially the United Nations, Nato, and the European Union.”
Meanwhile, as fighting continues between Russian and Ukrainian forces in the country, Kyiv has been using Turkish drones to strike the invading forces.
Ukraine's ambassador to Ankara, Vasyl Bodnar, said on Sunday that Turkish-made Bayraktar drones were very effective in the country's battle against invading Russian forces.