Montreux Convention

Montreux Convention

In today’s series of our Current Affairs Dialog box, we will discuss Montreux Convention and how is it related to the UPSC syllabus. From Prelims point of view, it has topics such as Montreux Convention, Turkish Straits and the Black Sea, and from Mains point of view, it comprises topics such as Importance of Turkish Straits, Importance of Black Sea for Russia that must be carefully studied during UPSC exam preparation.

Why in the News?

Recently, Turkey has planned to activate the Montreux Convention in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Probable Question

Examine the significance of the Montreux Convention, in the light of the ongoing conflict between Russia-Ukraine. 

About Montreux Convention

  • Montreux Convention was signed in 1936 regarding the Regime of the Straits. 
  • Under the accord, Turkey has control over the Bosphorus and Dardanelles and the power to regulate the transit of naval warships.
  • It also guarantees the free passage of civilian vessels in peacetime and restricts the passage of ships not belonging to Black Sea countries. 
  • In wartime, Turkey is authorized to close the straits to all foreign warships or when it is threatened by aggression.
  • It can also refuse transit for merchant ships from countries at war with Turkey and fortify the straits in case of conflict. 
  • All non-Black Sea countries wishing to send vessels must notify Turkey 15 days in advance, while Black Sea nations must give eight days notification.

Also read: How to Prepare for UPSC Prelims CSAT?

How does this affect Russia?

  • Both Russia and Ukraine lie on the Black Sea, along with Romania and NATO members Bulgaria and Georgia. 
  • Turkey can limit the transit of Russian warships from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea through its straits under the Montreux Convention.
Importance of Black Sea for Russia:

The Black Sea is Russia’s entrance to the world – including the Mediterranean and Atlantic spheres of influence.”

The Black Sea is important for Russia because of the significant access that it offers to Russia – in particular, access to global sea lines of communication and opportunities to project power at a strategic distance and expand its air and coastal defences.

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What does Article 19 say about the passage of Ships?

  • Article 19 of the treaty contains an exception for the countries on the Black Sea that can effectively undermine Turkey’s power in blocking the Russian warships entering or exiting the Black Sea.
  • According to it, warships can return to their original bases through the passage and Turkey cannot prevent it.
    • For Example, a Russian fleet registered in the Black Sea but currently located in the Mediterranean Sea is allowed to pass through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits and return to its base.
    • The condition also applies to Russian fleets currently in the Black Sea that belong to a base in the Mediterranean or Baltic Sea. Russia is free to take them out of the Black Sea.
  • Thus, invoking of Montreaux Convention to check Russia would only be of symbolic importance.

Turkish Straits

  • The Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, also known as the Turkish Straits or the Black Sea Straits, connect the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea via the Sea of Marmara. 
  • The Bosphorus connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara, while the Dardanelles connects the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara.
  • The Bosphorus is also one of the world’s most important chokepoints for the maritime transit of oil.
  • It is the only passage through which the Black Sea ports can access the Mediterranean and beyond.

Importance

  • The Bosphorus Strait has played a major role in world trade for centuries. 
  • About 48,000 vessels transit the straits each year, making this area one of the world’s busiest maritime gateways.
    • About three percent of the daily global supply, mostly produced in Russia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan, passes through this waterway every day. 
    • The route also ships large amounts of iron, steel, and agricultural products from the Black Sea coast to Europe and the rest of the world.
About Black Sea:

The Black Sea lies between the continents of Asia and Europe. It is bound to the west by the Balkan Peninsula in Southeastern Europe, to the east by the Caucasus, north by East European Plains, and south by Anatolia of Western Asia. 

The largest island in the Black Sea is Dzharylhach Island in Ukraine.

In 1992, the six countries bordering the Black Sea ratified a convention on Black Sea protection, known as the Bucharest Convention. The convention sought to reduce the risk of extinction of marine species and conserve marine and coastal habitats.

It is near the oval in shape and is linked to the Atlantic Ocean through the Bosporus Strait.

The Strait of Kerch connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov.

Bordering countries of Black Sea: Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania.

It is known for anoxic Waters (Depleting Oxygen levels).

Image Source: WorldAtlas
News Source: The Indian Express

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