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Current Affairs

Turkey closes Black sea for Russia

Date: 03 March 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Ukrainian President Zelensky has asked Turkey to block two critical straits that give access to Black sea.

 

Background

The Black Sea is an inland sea that can be reached through the Bosporus strait and Dardanelles strait.

 

Details

The Turkish officials say that they cannot stop naval vessels from using the straits as a clause in Montreaux convention allows vessels to return to their home base.

 

Importance of Black Sea

  • The sea is of strategic interest to all countries on its bank such as Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Bulgaria, Georgia and Romania.

  • Three out of the six countries—Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria are NATO members. NATO forces have been unable to establish military presence in the sea.

  • Even before war broke out, Russia had moved a large naval fleet in the area. It was said to be for military exercise.

 

Access to Black Sea

  • The Black Sea is critical for transport of crude oil from Russia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan to other parts of the world.

  • Large consignments of iron, steel, and agricultural products are moved from the Black Sea coast to other parts.

 

Importance for Russia

  • Russia has large naval presence in Black Sea. It has used its influence to prevent Ukraine from access to maritime trade.

  • In comparison to Pacific or Arctic coast, Black Sea ports have turned out to be centre of economic activity for Russia. It has used them to export crude and grains.

 

Montreaux convention

  • The Bosporus and Dardanelles straits connect the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea via the Sea of Marmara. It is the only passage out of Black Sea towards Mediterranean.

  • During peace time, Turkey must allow all ships to pass from these straits. They can be blocked only when Turkey is at war with other countries.

  • The clause make it compulsory for Turkey to provide free passage to ships returning to their homes bases in the Black Sea, a condition that Russia has exploited.