Erdogan Accuses Turkish Opposition Of Trying To Justify Admirals Defending Montreux Treaty

Erdogan Accuses Turkish Opposition of Trying to Justify Admirals Defending Montreux Treaty

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday accused the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) of attempting to justify retired admirals for publishing a collective letter in defense of the Montreux convention determining the status of the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, which Erdogan says resembles a coup

ANKARA (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 07th April, 2021) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday accused the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) of attempting to justify retired admirals for publishing a collective letter in defense of the Montreux convention determining the status of the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, which Erdogan says resembles a coup.

On Sunday, more than a hundred retired Turkish admirals published a letter calling on Ankara to stay in the convention amid the country's plans to build a huge canal on the edge of Istanbul connecting the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, which would not be covered by the treaty. The admirals also advocated keeping the current constitution, while Erdogan is calling for development of a new one. On Monday, 10 of the retired admirals had reportedly been detained. The CHP and the Homeland Movement responded by decrying the arrests.

"There are members of the CHP and those who are in the party's leadership among these admirals.

The CHP tries to justify the letter that resembles a coup. Those who downplay the significance of this letter are themselves putschists. We are accused of calling all [of them] traitors and terrorists. Of course, those who are close to the terrorists are displeased that we call them so," Erdogan told lawmakers.

The Montreux Convention was adopted in 1936 in an attempt to guarantee freedom of passage through the two straits for merchant ships of all countries, both in peace and wartime. As for warships, the rules differ for the Black Sea nations and others there are significant restrictions for warships originating from non-Black Sea countries.

After the letter was published, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu noted that the implementation of the Istanbul Canal project did not mean that Turkey would abandon the convention. Earlier on Wednesday, Erdogan reaffirmed commitment to both the Istanbul Canal project and compliance with the convention.