The Turkish Center for Combatting Disinformation announced today that two UK-supplied Sandown Class mine countermeasures vessels will not be allowed to transit either strait connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. The government body cited Article 19 of the Montreux Straits Convention and claimed that since Ukraine is in a state of war and the UK is not a Black Sea nation that the transfer would be blocked.
The announcement reads below:
“Turkey maintains its unwavering determination and principled stance throughout this war in order to prevent the escalation of tension in the Black Sea. We have informed our relevant allies that the mine hunting ships donated to Ukraine by the United Kingdom will not be allowed to pass through the Turkish Straits to the Black Sea as long as the war continues…The claim in some media outlets that ‘Mine hunting ships donated to Ukraine by the United Kingdom were allowed to pass through the Turkish Straits to the Black Sea’ is not true.”
It is worth noting that Article 19 says:
“In time of war, Turkey not being belligerent, warships of belligerent Powers shall not pass, except to return to their base.”
However, Turkey allowed dozens of Russian surface combatants to travel from the Baltic and Northern Fleets before and after February 22nd, 2022. This obvious bias for the Russian Federation is another example of the intricacies of Turkish relations with its NATO allies. It is also important to note that up until this point, Ankara has not classified Russia’s “Special Military Operation in Ukraine” as a war.