ANKARA, February 25. /TASS/. Ankara may close the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits to warships, but Russia will still have the right to use them for the return of its fleet to its base, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday.
"Ukraine has sent us an official request [to close the straits to Russian warships]. The provisions of the Montreux Convention are very clear and precise. To this day, Turkey has been unhesitatingly complying with the Montreux Convention. It is possible to take measures towards the parties to a war that Turkey is not involved in. Turkey can restrict the passage of warships through the straits. However, the Montreux Convention also says that the ships of countries involved in a war have the right to return to their bases and should be allowed to do so," the Hurriyet newspaper quoted Cavusoglu as saying.
According to the top diplomat, Turkish experts are studying the issue and in case "a war-time situation is officially declared, the process will begin." "Clearly, it all requires Turkey to describe Russia’s attack as a war," Cavusolgu explained.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Turkey Vasily Bodnar called on Ankara on Thursday to restrict the passage of Russian warships through the Turkish-controlled straits.
On Thursday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation based on a request from the heads of the Donbass republics. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans to occupy Ukrainian territories. Russia’s Defense Ministry reported later that the Russian Armed Forces were not delivering strikes against Ukrainian cities. The ministry emphasized that Ukrainian military infrastructure was being destroyed by precision weapons and there was no threat to civilians.