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NATO Supports Türkiye’s Montreux Strategy at the Black Sea

NATO Supports Türkiye’s Montreux Strategy at the Black Sea

The United Kingdom wanted to donate two minesweepers to Ukraine to support its mine clearance activities in the Black Sea. Turkiye has prohibited the passage as it would violate the Montreux Convention due to the naval warfare in the Black Sea. 

On the other hand, Turkiye signed a cooperation agreement in Istanbul with Romania and Bulgaria to start an initiative to clear the mines in the Black Sea. Following the signature, the Romanian Defence Minister invited NATO allies to the Black Sea by writing, “NATO Littoral Partners, along with NATO’s Standing NATO Maritime Group and non-littoral Allies, could also contribute. Together, we’re ensuring a safer Black Sea!” at social media.

Romainian Defence Ministry .jpg

At that time, an expert who evaluated the two countries’ opposing approaches, Turkiye and Romania, commented to TurDef, “Romania always wants to see NATO in the Black Sea. Bringing the country with this idea to the table and signing this agreement is the real success.”

In Brussels, NATO defence ministers met on February 15th to prepare for the Washington Summit. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held a press conference about the meeting and answered journalists’ questions. The Romanian journalist’s question about the issue demonstrated that the expectations are not over for Romania; “Türkiye does not allow ships donated to Ukraine by certain Allies to enter the Black Sea. It looks like one NATO Ally is blocking other Allies from helping Ukraine. What do you think about that?”

Stoltenberg answered this question by starting with principles; “The Montreux Agreement means that now the straits into the Black Sea are closed for naval ships.” He elaborated his answer to underline that “Russia is not able to move in more naval ships into the Black Sea.” Stoltenberg reminded journalists that Ukrainians have destroyed a large number of ships in the Black Sea and said, “What I welcome is that Bulgaria, Romania and Türkiye, three NATO Allies and littoral states to the Black Sea, are actually working together on demining.”

He concluded his answer: “So I think we should continue close cooperation between NATO Allies, continue to support Ukraine’s efforts to push back the Russian Black Sea Fleet and continue to respect the Montreux Agreement.”