Kanal Istanbul a Turkish issue that does not impact Montreux Convention – Russian envoy

The Kanal Istanbul project, a shipping canal project designed to bypass Istanbul’s Bosporus waterway, is on Turkey's territory and an affair of the country's authorities, Russian Ambassador in Ankara Alexey Yerkhov said on Tuesday, adding that project does not affect international stipulations arranged by the Montreux Convention.

The project will not cancel the requirements of the Montreux Convention,Sputnik Turkish cited Yerkhov as saying in a interview with Rossiya TV on Tuesday, but new financial requirements or conditions will be presented to the ships that will pass through the new pathway.

Last month, Turkey approved plans to develop the canal project, which has opened up debate about the 1936 Montreux Convention, which guarantees the free passage through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits of civilian vessels in times of both peace and war.

On Monday, Turkish police detained 10 retired admirals after a letter signed by 104 of them warned against a possible threat to the treaty following remarks from the government on the matter.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the declaration was “unacceptable” and implied an impending coup.

Yerhov stated the canal project and Montreux Convention were naturally linked to each other, albeit indirectly.

“If Canal Istanbul is built, this won’t mean that the Montreux Convention will be annulled. None of the stipulations of the Convention concerning transport through the straits or the war boats capacity arrangements will be changed by it”, he said.

The Montreux Convention will remain in effect, according to the Russian envoy, who said the agreement is an important, “key document” for the security of the Black Sea region.