Turkiye’s defense minister on Monday emphasized the importance of dialogue with Russia and Ukraine and said his country will continue to abide by the rules set by the Montreux Convention on the passage of ships in the Black Sea straits. 

“The status of the straits (regarding the rules on the passage of ships of Black Sea and non-Black Sea countries) set by the convention benefits all parties. In the current circumstances, there is no question of abandoning this convention. As for the Black Sea dialogue, Turkiye is doing everything it should. We will continue our dialogue with Russia and Ukraine and we will fulfill our NATO obligations,” Hulusi Akar was quoted by Turkish broadcaster TRT as saying.

Akar elaborated on the situation in the Black Sea region, saying Turkiye’s dialogue with both Ukraine and Russia continues while it undertakes its responsibilities within NATO as part of the alliance.

He underlined that the Montreux Convention of 1936 regulated the regime of the Turkish Straits and the transit of naval warships to the Black Sea is essential to security and stability in the region.

Referring to the latest tensions between Russia and Ukraine and the West, he warned that this posed the danger of uncontrolled escalation.

“As such, we, as Turkiye, urge all parties concerned to remain calm and engage in coordination, cooperation and dialogue,” he added.

The US with its European allies has been warning that Russia is setting the stage for an invasion of Ukraine and has pre-positioned over 100,000 troops on its border with the former Soviet republic alongside significant artillery and tank deployments.

Moscow has denied preparing for a military offensive, saying its troops are there for regular exercises.

​*Writing and contribution by Ahmet Gencturk

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