…from VT Editors
[ Editor’s Note: This is quite a strange story, especially with its having been kept out of the news for three days. These are the times when someone knocks on our door.
The spat over the US being aggressive in the Black Sea, like having more than one ship in at a time and flipping the bird in Turkey, has been ongoing for some time.
The US land-based Aegis missile system was there earlier, the one that Putin had complained could be converted to a “first strike” missile launch facility in a few hours by reloading the launch tubes with offensive explosive missiles versus the kinetic energy ones used for intercept, or it could configure the launchers with half of each.
So I had to ask the textbook required question of “why now”, and what came up three days ago was Haftar saying “screw you” to the permanent ceasefire talks where Putin had invested a lot of political capital and Erdogan, also. At first, Haftar was in, and then he was out like someone pulled his chain. Guess who that might have been?
And then boom, we have this “rabbit out of the hat” game-changer for the Black Sea. We will be updating this story as we get more information… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … January 21, 2020 –
Erdogan, in an interview with CNN-Turkey, announced that he; “intends to put an end to the free passage of ships through the Bosphorus, as established by the Montreux Convention of 1936.”
From Avia Pro:
“Turkey began to block the passage of NATO ships from the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea, thereby indicating its position against the North Atlantic Alliance. According to the Nordic Monitor, restrictions on the passage of NATO warships from the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea are already in effect, and therefore, even US Navy ships cannot freely enter the Black Sea region.
“At the meeting, Turkish officials emphasized that stability in the Black Sea should be maintained (paragraph 2.a); NATO activities will be supported in accordance with the restrictions imposed by the Montreux Convention (paragraph 2.b), and Russia should not be unduly provoked (paragraph 2.b), military protocols are disclosed. Turkey is a key country in the Black Sea because it controls the entry and exit to the sea through a system of straits, which includes the Istanbul / Bosphorus Strait, the Dardanelles / Canakkale Strait and the Sea of Marmara, connecting the Black and Mediterranean Seas ”– сообщает “Nordic Monitor” by providing relevant documents.”
According to current data, several NATO warships have already been denied passage through the Bosphorus, moreover, Ankara motivated this by the existing convention and agreements, however, experts draw attention to the fact that Turkey actively supports Russia trying to prevent any provocations from the North Atlantic alliance.
Подробнее на: Avia-Pro.net
What is Erdogan going to do
The Turkish leader plans to dig a new canal by the end of 2025, which, “bypassing the Bosphorus, will connect the Black and Marmara Seas.”
“Erdogan argued that the Greek newspaper Ekathimerini writes that” Americans feel too free in the Black Sea. “
What has Turkey already begun to do
But conversations are conversations, and, as AVIA.PRO reports today with reference to the Nordic Monitor portal, “Turkey has begun to block the passage of NATO ships from the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea.
“NATO’s activities will be supported in accordance with the restrictions imposed by paragraph 2. b of the Montreux Convention. This is the requirement of Turkey, which considers itself a key country in the Black Sea on the basis that it controls the entry and exit to the sea through a system of straits, including among others, the Bosphorus Strait, connecting the Black and Mediterranean Seas, “says Nordic Monitor.
Why Erdogan overlaps the Bosphorus
According to the publication, several (the number is not specified – approx. Ed.) NATO military courts have already been denied passage through the strait.
“And although Ankara’s motivation is confirmed by the convention, there is every reason to believe that Erdogan is trying as actively as possible to prevent provocations against Russia from the North Atlantic Alliance,” the material says.
Turkey opposed permanent NATO presence in the Black Sea, rebuffed Romanian proposal
Nordic Monitor – Ahead of the NATO Warsaw summit in 2016, Romania sought Turkey’s support for establishing a permanent NATO presence in the Black Sea region but was rejected by Ankara, a confidential Turkish military document obtained by Nordic Monitor has confirmed.
According to the minutes of a meeting issued by the Plans and Principles Directorate of the Turkish General Staff in May 2016, representatives from the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the relevant military forces and the Coast Guard Command met on May 26, 2016, to discuss Romanian proposals to establish a permanent NATO base in the Black Sea and to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two littoral states.
The minutes reveal that Romania had requested Turkey’s support for its diplomatic initiative aimed at setting up a regional naval command under NATO’s Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM), the headquarters of all NATO maritime forces. However, Turkish officials agreed to reject the Romanian proposal since it did not comply with Turkey’s policy on the Black Sea, the minutes stated.
Turkey had previously expressed concern about perceived Russian ambitions in the Black Sea region and called for a greater NATO presence there; however, its relations with Russia have improved since 2016, and Turkey has become resistant to backing a more substantial NATO role in the Black Sea.
The first page of the Turkish military document:
Turkish officials stressed at the meeting that stability in the Black Sea should be maintained (paragraph 2.a); NATO activities would be supported in accordance with the limitations imposed by the Montreux Convention (paragraph 2.b), and Russia should not be unnecessarily provoked (paragraph 2.b), the military minutes revealed.
Turkey is a key country in the Black Sea since it controls the entrance and exit to the sea through the Turkish Straits System, which includes the Istanbul/Bosporus strait, the Dardanelles/Çanakkale strait and the Marmara Sea, connecting the Black and Mediterranean seas.
The l936 Montreux Convention gave the country control over the system and guaranteed the free passage of civilian vessels during peacetime. The convention stipulates that only littoral states can have a standing naval presence in the Black Sea. The tonnage and time spent in the Black Sea by ships from non-littoral states are restricted to 21 days, and submarines and aircraft carriers of non-littoral states are banned altogether.
The second page of the document:
The Foreign Ministry was working on Turkey’s maritime security concept in the Black Sea, and a new concept paper was to take the Romanian and Bulgarian proposals into account, the minutes stated. According to the military document, the Bulgarian bilateral cooperation plan was not discussed during the meeting.
Moreover, the minutes underlined that the Turkish officials agreed not to oppose the formation of a multinational land brigade in Romania, adding that a Turkish brigade would be affiliated with the Romanian Multinational Division South-East (MND-SE). Romania’s initiative to launch the Combined Joint Enhanced Training Center would also be supported by Turkey.
Romania was invited to join the North Atlantic Alliance at the NATO summit in Prague in 2002 along with Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia and officially became a NATO member in March 2004. Four years later, it hosted the NATO summit in Bucharest on April 2-4, 2008.
According to its military strategy document, Romania, in terms of the NATO Force Structure, hosts the Multinational Division Southeast Headquarters, the NATO Force Integration Unit, the Deployable Communications Module Element, and the Deveselu Missile Defense Base.
Romania considered Russia’s takeover of Crimea in March 2014 a direct threat and pressed NATO to have a strong presence in the Black Sea. Following the annexation of Crimea, naval assets from several allied nations and NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 2 increased military exercises in the region and regularly train for combat proficiency in the Black Sea. Furthermore, a Black Sea functional center has been established within MARCOM, and a multinational land brigade was formed in Craiova, Romania.
Last page of the document: