The project of the new sea artery "Istanbul Canal" is the matter of the Turkish authorities, it is an economic project on the Turkish territory, but Russian and Turkish Foreign Ministries hold regular consultations on the Black Sea navigation, the Russian Ambassador to Ankara Alexei Yerkhov said.
Earlier, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan stated his intention to hold a tender for the construction of the Istanbul Canal, which, in his opinion, "will eliminate the threat of environmental and man-made disaster on the Bosphorus". Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu opposes the project and calls for a referendum.
"This is primarily a matter for the Turkish authorities, it is an economic project that should be implemented on Turkish territory and by Turkish forces. But we have a branched system of political consultations, first of all between our MFAs, and including the Black Sea, maritime navigation, it is regularly discussed between our ministries," Yerkhov said on the air of the channel "Russia 24."
According to the diplomat, the project of the new artery will not cancel the requirements of the Montreux Convention, but the ships that will pass through the new artery will be subject to new financial requirements or conditions.
"Between the Istanbul Canal and the Montreux Convention, of course, there is a connection, an interconnection, a mutual link, but it is far from linear and is not of a direct, immediate nature. But if we assume that the "Istanbul Canal" is built, it would in no way cancel the requirements of the Montreux Convention, in no way change the restrictions which it imposes on the requirements for the passage through the Strait, as on the total tonnage of military ships in the Black Sea and many other things which are laid down in the Montreux Convention," - said the Ambassador, adding that "new financial requirements or conditions for crossing these highways will be imposed on those vessels that will pass through new transport routes".
A letter from 103 retired Turkish admirals was published Sunday, calling the Montreux Convention a diplomatic victory for Turkey, which restored its sovereign rights to the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits, and saying it was unacceptable to discuss revising the agreement in connection with the Istanbul Canal project, which would run parallel to the Bosphorus Strait and connect the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea.
The Montreux Convention, adopted in 1936, preserves freedom of passage for merchant ships of all countries through the straits both in peacetime and wartime. However, the regime of the passage of warships is different for the Black Sea and non-Black Sea states. For warships of non-Black Sea powers, there are significant restrictions on the class and duration of stay.
GSV "Russia - Islamic World"
Photo: Creative Commons
Based on materials from RIA Novosti