Ex-admirals in Turkey face 12 years in prison over Montreux Convention warning
Turkish prosecutors have demanded up to 12 years in prison for 12 retired admirals who signed a statement in support of 86-years-old Montreux Convention last year, following the discussions of Turkey possibly withdrawing from the international accord, governing the marine traffic through the Turkish straits.
The statement signed by 103 ex-admirals that has sparked ire in Ankara, seen by the government circles as a call for a military coup in the country. Authorities immediately launched an investigation against the senior navy personnel, detaining ten of them.
On today’s hearing in capital Ankara, the public prosecutor demanded prison sentences between three to 12 years for 12 retired admirals for “conspiring to commit a crime against the security of the state and constitutional order."
Prosecution asked for the acquittal of the rest 91 defendants, saying that they did not had the will to participate in 12 ex-admirals’ actions, Diken news website reported on Friday.
The retired admirals including three ex-navy commanders, signed a letter in April 2021, warning against any decision that undermines the Montreux Convention, following debates over Turkish government’s plans to open a shipping canal in Istanbul, linking the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea.
“Montreux is the basic document of the security of the Black Sea riparian countries and is the convention that makes the Black Sea, a sea of peace. Montreux is a contract that prevents Turkey from unintentionally entering the war on the side of one of the warring parties in any war. Montreux enabled Turkey to maintain its neutrality in the Second World War.
For these and similar reasons, we are of the opinion that all kinds of discourses and actions that may lead to discussions over the future of the Montreux Convention, which has an important place in Turkey's survival, should be avoided,” the admirals said.
The 1936 Montreux Convention is an international agreement that governs the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits in Turkey, regulating the traffic of ships into and out of the Black Sea, including military vessels.