Declaration on Montreux Convention sparks debate in Turkey

Declaration on Montreux Convention sparks debate in Turkey

The Ankara Public Prosecutor's Office on Sunday launched an investigation into a "declaration" signed by 103 retired navy admirals, which has drawn strong condemnation from the government and the public who claim the document implies interference in democratic institutions and the will of the public.

After Turkey's decision last month to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, a European treaty aimed at preventing and combating violence against women, with a presidential decree, it came into question whether Turkey could withdraw from other international agreements the same way. In a TV interview, Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop, who is also a constitutional lawyer, said that technically it is possible and gave the example of The Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits. Following discussions about Şentop's statements, 104 retired admirals on Saturday released a statement warning the government.

"We are of the opinion to refrain from any kind of rhetoric or action that could make the Montreux Convention... a matter of controversy," they said.

The Montreux Convention is a 1936 agreement that gives Turkey control over the Bosporus and Dardanelles and regulates the transit of naval warships. The convention guarantees the free passage of civilian vessels in times of peace and restricts the passage of naval ships that do not belong to littoral Black Sea states. Signed on July 20, 1936, at the Montreux Palace in Switzerland, the convention gives Turkey permission to remilitarize the Bosporus and Dardanelles. It went into effect on Nov. 9, 1936, and was registered in the League of Nations Treaty Series on Dec. 11, 1936.

Vice President Fuat Oktay in a Twitter message called out the coup supporters who are unwilling to accept the will of the nation and targeted democratic institutions that were elected by the people and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). Noting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's determined stance, he said that the necessary response will be clearly made.

Turkey's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun underlined that the nation has the last word in this country and the spotlight will be put on antidemocratic initiatives that go against the national will, accompanied by an image of the Communications Directorate building with the lights on.​ "Not only those who signed but also those who encourage them will give an account before justice," he added.

Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said that the Turkish nation and its representatives will not allow this mentality of tutelage. "The statement of a group of subordinate soldiers, evoking the coup periods, only made them ridiculous and miserable," he added.


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