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Montreux Convention: How a 1936 treaty could force Turkey to take sides in the Ukraine war

Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey Vasyl Bodnar went on local television last week and appealed for the government in Ankara to close its key straits to Russian warships under provisions of the 1936 Montreux Convention. Turkey said it could only do so if it officially recognized the conflict as a war, and on Sunday, that’s what it did.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government would “use the authority given to our country by the Montreux Convention on ship traffic in the straits in a way that will prevent the crisis from escalating.”

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu later said that Turkey had warned both Black Sea and non-Black Sea countries not to pass warships through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

“There has been no request for passage through the straits [since the war started],” Cavusoglu…

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