Turkey has rejected a request from Russia to sail several naval vessels through the Turkish Straits, the Japan-based Nikkei Asia reported on Wednesday.

The report cited Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as telling Turkish media the previous day that Ankara was invoking the 1936 Montreux Convention, “which gives Turkey the authority to restrict passage through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits.”

“Ankara politely told Moscow that it would not be allowed, Cavusoglu said,” according to the report.

“Russia wanted to transit four naval vessels on Feb 27-28 through the straits, but according to our records, three of them were not registered to Black Sea home bases. Hence, we told Russia not to transit these ships and Russia told us, they will not transit them,” Cavusoglu was cited as saying. “We informed this today to all Montreux Convention states officially,” he added.

The Montreux convention regulates the key waterway between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Turkey is a member of NATO.

“During peacetime, warships have free access through the straits if they give prior diplomatic notification to Turkey. The convention also offers different levels of authority to Turkey, according to whether the situation is peacetime, wartime, or if Turkey itself is “threatened with imminent danger of war,” the report stated.

“In a friendly manner, we told Russians not to transit these ships. We told Russians and others not to have hard feelings, as Montreux is valid today and tomorrow and we will implement it,” Cavusoglu said.

JNS

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