Turkey rejects Russia's U.S. warship claims

Photo: Turkey rejects Russia's U.S. warship claims / Turkey

Turkey has rejected Russian criticism over its adherence to a maritime deal after claims that U.S. warships which sailed through Turkish waters outstayed their allotted time in the Black Sea Anadolu Agency reported.

American vessels exceeded twice the specified permitted staying period in the Black Sea, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.

Lavrov said that Russia had attracted the attention of the United States and Turkey; Ankara controls the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits, the entrance point to the Black Sea.

Turkey rejected Russian claims related to Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits, a government official said.

"Turkey has strictly enforced the Montreux Straits Convention for 78 years," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgic said.

Bilgic said that Ankara had answered questions from the Russian Federation's Embassy which had been sent to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

The 1936 Montreux Convention regulates the transit of naval warships over the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits.

According to the agreement, non-Black Sea state warships are permitted to stay in the Black Sea no longer than 21 days.

Tension in the Black Sea region has escalated over the last two months, as Russia unilaterally annexed Ukraine's Crimea region and stationed thousands of troops near the Ukrainian border.

The United States responded by sending warships to Black Sea, sparking Russian complains that the U.S. was not respecting the Montreux Convention.

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