Turkey summons Russian ambassador over provocative incident

Turkish Foreign Ministry summons Russia's ambassador over ‘provocative’ passing of Russian warship through Bosphorus

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Tsezar Kunikov, a warship belonging to the Russian Navy, was photographed in the Bosphorus channel on Nov. 24 which was later photographed in the same channel with a soldier carrying a surface-to-air missile in a firing position on Dec. 4, 2015

Updated Dec 8, 2015

Turkey's Foreign Ministry has summoned Andrey Karlov, the Russian Federation’s ambassador to the country, over the "provocative" passing of one of its warships through the Bosphorus on Friday.

A Russian soldier was photographed last week carrying a man-portable air-defense system, or MANPADS, on his shoulder while passing through the Bosphorus on the Russian warship Tsezar Kunikov.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu described the recent Russian action as "provocative" and "harassing" when speaking to journalists on Sunday following a meeting with Russian citizens living in Turkey’s southern province of Antalya which he represents in Turkey's Parliament.

Karlov discussed the issue with Burak Ozugergin, director of bilateral political relations on maritime, aviation, and borders at the ministry, on Monday and has been told that this action by the Russians should not be repeated according to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency (AA).

Ozugergin emphasised to Karlov that Turkey "expects [the Russians] not to repeat the actions, which are not compatible with both the letter and spirit of the Montreux Treaty and international law, and have no direct connection with a [proper] passage,” during their meeting according to AA.  

Karlov said that the Turkish point of view concerning the issue will be "transmitted completely" to the respective authorities in Russia.

The Montreux Convention is an agreement which was signed on 20 July 1936 at the Montreux Palace in Switzerland, granting Turkey control over the Bosphorus strait and Dardanelles and regulating the transit of naval warships.

According to the convention Turkey holds control over the straits and civilian vessels have the right to free passage during peacetime.

The agreement restricts the passage of naval ships which do not belong to Black Sea states.

Articles of 20 and 21 of the Montreux Convention state that "[20] In times of war, Turkey being belligerent, the passage of warships shall be left entirely to the discretion of the Turkish Government and [21] should Turkey consider herself to be threatened with imminent danger of war she shall have the right to apply the provisions of Article 20 of the present Convention."

Cavusoglu also said on Sunday that if Turkey perceived any threat, it would react appropriately while noting that the principles of the Montreux Convention have been properly and impartially implemented by Turkey for more than seven decades.

Minister of Transportation Binali Yildirim said on Sunday that a Russian warship passing through the Bosphorus with a soldier carrying a surface-to-air missile in a firing position violated the terms of Montreux Convention.

Turkey and Russia are engaged in a political disagreement over the Syrian conflict which escalated after Turkey’s downing of the Russian warplane over its airspace violation on Nov 24.

The incident has caused a political crisis between the countries, which have strong economic ties, and has led Turkish and Russian leaders to issue warnings to one another.

TRTWorld and agencies