Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey will use the powers under the Montreux Convention regarding the movement of ships in the straits to avoid escalation in Ukraine.

Earlier, Vladimir Zelensky on Twitter published a statement on the topic of banning the passage of Russian ships through the straits in Turkey, without indicating whether such a decision was made by Erdogan or not. After that, the Istanbul Coastal Security Department told that the Turkish straits were open for the passage of Russian ships; they did not receive any decisions. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey can close the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits for the passage of Russian warships, but the Russian Federation will have the right to return its fleet to base.

“We are determined to use the powers given to our country by the Montreux Convention regarding the movement of ships in the straits in such a way as to prevent the escalation of the crisis,” Erdogan said, addressing the people after a cabinet meeting on Monday.

The Montreux Convention was adopted in 1936. It preserves for merchant ships the freedom of passage through the straits both in peacetime and in wartime, but the regimes are different for everyone. At the same time, the document limits the stay in the Black Sea of warships of non-Black Sea states for a period of three weeks. In emergency situations, Turkey has the right to prohibit or restrict the passage of military personnel through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles.