Turkish ex-admirals facing 12 years in prison for allegedly calling for a “coup d’etat” have acquitted of all charges
A Turkish court on Tuesday has unanimously decided to acquit 103 retired admirals of charges for “conspiring to commit a crime against the security of the state and constitutional order."
The ex-admirals were facing up to 12 years in prison over their joint letter in support of the Montreux Convention, where it was seen by the government circles as call for a military coup in Turkey.
The court concluded that the legal elements of the crime were not formed, Diken news website reported.
The retired admirals including three ex-navy commanders, signed a letter in April 2021, warning against any decision that undermines the 86-years-old Montreux Convention, following the discussions of Turkey possibly withdrawing from the international accord amid government’s plans to open a shipping canal in Istanbul, linking the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea.
The letter has sparked ire in Ankara, and authorities immediately launched an investigation against the senior navy personnel, detaining ten of them.
“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 in the letter.
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.