Russia welcomes Turkey's Montreux Treaty stance

Turkish FM Davutoglu earlier said Turkey remained faithful to the Montreux Convention that regulates the passage of vessels at Turkish Straits

Turkish FM Davutoglu earlier said Turkey remained faithful to the Montreux Convention that regulates the passage of vessels at Turkish Straits

MOSCOW - The Russian Foreign Ministry late Monday welcomed Turkey’s assurance of its commitment to the Montreux Convention - the 1936 deal on the regulation of shipping vessels through Turkey's straits.

During his visit to Japan on Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, "Turkey has never eschewed its responsibilities, and remained faithful to the convention (Montreux)," dismissing claims that Moscow ‘threatened’ Ankara over its alleged breach of the Montreux Convention.

“Russia noted Turkey’s statement with satisfaction that it will continue, just as it has been doing over the past 78 years, to comply with the Montreux Convention which makes a significant contribution to the security of the Black Sea states,” Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a written statement.

On Saturday, Turkish Foreign Ministry released a statement saying Turkey is "perplexed" by the Russian Federation’s insistence on keeping the implementation of the Montreux Convention on the agenda.

"We believe that discussing the technical provisions of the convention through the media will not benefit anyone, particularly the Black Sea littoral countries who are parties to it," the Foreign Ministry said in its written statement.

However, it appears that Russia's insistence on Turkey's commitment to the convention was a response to the earlier Russian claims that two U.S. vessels exceeded their stay in the Black Sea region - 21 days, as specified in the convention.

In line with the Montreux Convention of 1936, merchant vessels enjoy freedom of passage through the Turkish Straits.  The Turkish Straits Vessel Traffic Services Center regulates passages according to the Maritime Traffic Regulations for the Turkish Straits dated from 1998. Passages of warships are subject to some restrictions which vary depending on whether these vessels belong to Black Sea riparian states or not. It says combat ships of non-Black Sea countries may not stay in the Black Sea more than 21 days, and the combined tonnage of one country’s ships may not exceed 30,000 tons.

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