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France closely following Istanbul’s canal project

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Montreux Convention regulates the freedom of movement, of naval warships and cargo ships from other countries, through the Turkish straits of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.

Paris, April 7: France is closely following the the issue of a new canal in Istanbul which has initiated a discussion over Montreux Convention, the treaty which has granted Turkey to rule over the waterways -connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea– and peacetime guarantees for access for civilian vessels.

The Convention guarantees the free passage of civilian vessels in peacetime and restricts the passage of naval ships not belonging to Black Sea states. Montreux Convention regulates the freedom of movement, of naval warships and cargo ships from other countries, through the Turkish straits of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.

France as the depository of this treaty, said it is closely following the issue.
France said, “As a State party, we reaffirm our commitment to the Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits”.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to build a shipping canal in Istanbul similar to the Panama or Suez canals and said the 1936 Montreux Convention does not apply to the Istanbul canal project.

But according to the Turkish Foreign Minister, this project doesn’t point to Turkey’s abandonment of the Convention.

The new canal in Istanbul is 45km (90-mile) will act as an alternative maritime route to Turkey’s internationally used straits connecting Asia to Europe.

The convention had been controversial thanks to the Soviet Union’s military access to the Mediterranean Sea.

Russian government has been very critical of Erdogan’s announcement and many have disputed the Turkish government‘s interpretation of the convention‘s original terms.

At home, Erdogan has received criticism from Opposition, retired 120 Turkish ambassadors , 104 retired admirals , who warned the project could put the Montreux Convention in jeopardy and negatively affect Turkey’s “absolute sovereignty” over the waterways.

Admirals said the treaty was the diplomatic victory of Turkey during World War II, that completed the Lausanne Peace Treaty that helped Turkey determined its borders.

Erdogan accused them of coup as Turkish military staged three coups between 1960 and 1980 and a failed attempt in 2016.

The government has accused Gulen’s backers for the coup that was eventually failed but tens of thousands of people were held pending trial and civil servants, military personnel and others were jailed, sacked or suspended.

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