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Nov 24, 2021
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The Turks sang with the Yankees: the Bosphorus – to block, the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation – to lock

The Turks sang with the Yankees: the Bosphorus - to block, the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation - to lock

Photo: AP / TASS

The United States and Turkey are negotiating to block the Bosphorus for military ships of the Russian Armed Forces, the portal avia.pro reports. According to him, Washington can give Ankara control over large areas in the north of the SAR in exchange for blocking the Russian Armed Forces vessels in the Black Sea.

At the moment, the information is unconfirmed. However, it is known that Washington and Ankara are indeed conducting some kind of negotiations on the northern part of Syria and on countering Russia within the framework of NATO.

“Information is spreading in Turkish social networks, according to which the United States has offered the Turkish leadership to cede a number of areas in northern Syria in order to persuade Turkey to cooperate more actively against Russia in the Black Sea,” an Iranian journalist said. Khayal Muazzin

What is important, earlier the Turkish media issued a statement: Ankara can support Kiev by blocking the Bosphorus Strait. Such a maneuver on the part of Turkey could become a big problem for the Russian Black Sea Fleet, since the Russian ships will find themselves in a “trap”.

The question is, is it possible to block the Bosphorus? After all, there is the Montreux convention, according to which Turkey has the right to do this only in case of war. Nonsense. However, not everyone thinks so.

At the beginning of the month, when American ships were rattling Russia’s nerves with their incomprehensible maneuvers in the Black Sea, we wrote about calls by American politicians to strengthen this practice. In particular, Republican congressmen Mike Rogers and Mike Turner called on the US President to deploy a US military presence in the Black Sea in order to provide military support to Kiev, as if ignoring the requirements of the convention on limiting the tonnage of warships of non-Black Sea states and the duration of their presence.

Later U.S. Navy officer Brian Harrington wrote in an article for The Hill that conducting regular military exercises bypassing the Montreux Convention would help to deprive Russia of dominance in the Black Sea. In fact, he openly called for wiping your feet on this international document.

It turns out that the Yankees are still considering this option? And perhaps they are being sent to the President of Turkey Tayyip Recep Erdogan unambiguous signals to test his willingness to support them? Is Erdogan ready to block the Bosphorus?

– The United States could have sounded such proposals to Turkey, – says Leading Expert of the Center for Military-Political Research, MGIMO, Doctor of Political Science Mikhail Aleksandrov

– The goal here is not only to spoil relations between Russia and Turkey, but also to provoke a military conflict between the two countries. After all, Russia is unlikely to swallow the closure of the passage for its warships through the Bosphorus, and will go for a breakthrough. Moreover, one must understand that such actions by Turkey would be a violation of the Montreux Convention.

Let me remind you that according to the Montreux convention, Turkey can close the passage for warships only in case of a threat of an attack on its territory, and there is no such threat now. Ankara will have to weigh what is more important for it: the whole range of economic relations with Russia, coupled with the preservation of the Montreux Convention or the US-controlled Kurdish regions of Syria, which it still has to conquer and hold.

The Americans control most of the Kurdish regions of Syria beyond the left bank of the Euphrates. This is a rather large territory. The United States went there to gain a foothold in Syria from where it could support ISIS * in the war against Bashar al-Assad… After the entry of Russian troops into Syria and the liberation of a significant part of Syria from the militants, this task has lost its relevance.

Today it is obvious that Assad will not be able to overthrow, that Russia is firmly entrenched in Syria, and that the American presence in this area does not bring the United States any significant benefit, but draws off significant resources from more important matters. But the Americans do not want to just leave without receiving any benefits. So they are trying to “sell” these regions to Turkey in exchange for Ankara’s transition to a sharply anti-Russian policy.

“SP”: – Are the Turks ready to “buy” it?

– Turkish diplomacy is very experienced, one might say skillful. It is unlikely that the Turks will let themselves be fooled. The Montreux Convention for Turkey is one of the cornerstones of its security. The Turks will not change it for the Kurdish regions of Syria. Moreover, they are well aware that the United States will still be forced to leave Syria sooner or later, and at the moment of their departure, Turkey will open a window of opportunity to occupy part of the Kurdish regions.

Ankara understands that the United States will under no circumstances transfer the Kurdish areas to the troops of Assad or Russia. So these areas will fall at Turkey’s feet like ripe fruit – without having to pay any price, much less as much as the Montreux Convention.

Nevertheless, Turkish diplomacy may well participate in such negotiations to demonstrate friendly relations with the United States. But this is nothing more than an imitation of the negotiation process.

“SP”: – Earlier, US Navy officer Harrington said that regular military exercises bypassing the Montreux Convention would help to deprive Russia of dominance in the Black Sea. Is this not probing the ground for the possibility of revising the convention?

– Brian Harrington’s statement is not intended to violate the Montreux Convention. He simply calls for the use of warships from different NATO states to create a grouping in the Black Sea. The Montreux Convention does not impose restrictions on military blocs, but only on nation states. So NATO can theoretically create a powerful grouping in the Black Sea from ships of different countries.

But no matter how they puffed up, Russia will have enough strength and resources to sink this grouping.

“SP”: – Earlier in the Turkish press there were statements that Turkey can support Ukraine by blocking the Bosphorus. Is Erdogan ready to provoke Russia like that?

– I am not aware of the reports of the Turkish media about the possibility of closing the Black Sea straits for Russian warships. I can’t judge how authoritative they are. As for Erdogan, he skillfully maneuvers between the West and Russia. But he will not get involved in a military conflict with Russia for the sake of the interests of the West and, moreover, of Ukraine.

“SP”: – By the way, is it so critical for us if Turkey closes the straits? Gromyko, I remember, promised in this case to make two new straits … Yes, and modern missiles can reach NATO ships outside the Black Sea …

– The closure of the straits is critical for Russia, and this is a “casus belli” that would lead to a war with Turkey. It’s hard for me to imagine why Turkey could take such a step …

– At the talks between representatives of Washington and Ankara on the Syrian issue, we can talk, first of all, about the scale of support for the Syrian Kurds from the United States and the willingness of Americans to turn a blind eye to the tough actions of Turkey in northern Syria in the future, – believes Leading Analyst of the Agency for Political and Economic Communications Mikhail Neyzhmakov

– Probably, the assumptions of journalists and experts about the possible re-emergence of closed agreements between Ankara and Washington in this area are fueled by active Turkish-American contacts lately. One can note, for example, the recent meeting of the Turkey-US High-Level Defense Group in Washington, or the visit to Ankara of the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Karen Donfried

“SP”: – Is the American presence in Syria and cooperation with the Kurds a lever of pressure on Erdogan?

– Working with the Kurds is important for the United States as part of building a system of checks and balances in the region in its own interests. In addition, too obvious concessions to Turkey on the Kurdish issue may become a new reason for criticism of the administration. Biden on the part of some of his domestic political opponents, especially after the withdrawal of the American contingent from Afghanistan. Such opponents will again accuse the current American administration of being ready to constantly retreat.

“SP”: – To surrender Syria to the Turks in exchange for blocking the Black Sea is an equivalent exchange, in your opinion?

– If these rumors and assumptions have a real basis, such negotiations can talk about some kind of agreements between the United States and Turkey on interaction in the Black Sea region in principle. In this case, Ankara probably also mentions its own interests in Syria – this is a common place of statements by Turkish officials, including in the framework of a dialogue with the United States. We can recall how Recep Erdogan, following the results of the G20 summit in Rome, expressed the hope that the Syrian Kurds would not receive support from the American side in the future.

“SP”: – Can the Turks close the straits?

– Turkey may temporarily close the straits for the passage of ships, referring, for example, to weather conditions, accidents, and other technical issues. Or if the passage of warships through the straits occurs in anticipation or during any international crises. Another thing is that Turkey’s readiness to use such leverage against Russia will depend on the specific international political situation that will prevail at that time.

“SP”: – Earlier, the American military called for violating the Montreux convention. Was that a message to Erdogan?

– The US and NATO do show a noticeable interest in the Black Sea region. You can remember the visit by the head of the Pentagon Lloyd Austin three countries of the Black Sea region, including Ukraine and Georgia. To achieve its goals, Washington will use both pressure and promises of bonuses for Ankara. But relations between the United States and Turkey are likely to remain difficult in the short term.


* “Islamic State” (ISIS) is a terrorist group whose activities on the territory of Russia are prohibited by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation from 29.12.2014

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