IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MONTREUX CONVENTION
The Montreux Convention, which is an essential element in the context of Black Sea security and stability, has been properly and impartially implemented by Turkey for more than seven decades. In this regard, the successful implementation of the Montreux Convention since 1936 is a testimony of the balance carefully established by the Convention.
According to the Montreux Convention, merchant vessels enjoy freedom of passage through the Turkish Straits (Turkish Straits Vessel Traffic Services Centre regulates the passages according to the Maritime Traffic Regulations for the Turkish Straits dated 1998), while passages of vessels of war are subject to some restrictions which vary depending on whether these vessels belong to Black Sea riparian States or not.
Besides some general restrictions applicable to all, vessels of war belonging to non-riparian States are subject to specific restrictions such as those regarding maximum aggregate tonnage and duration of stay in the Black Sea.
The principal provisions of the Convention ruling the passages of vessels of war are outlined here-below:
· Aircraft carriers whether belonging to riparian states or not, can in no way pass through the Turkish Straits.
· Only submarines belonging to riparian states can pass through the Turkish Straits, for the purpose of rejoining their base in the Black Sea for the first time after their construction or purchase, or for the purpose of repair in dockyards outside the Black Sea.
· The total number and the maximum aggregate tonnage of all foreign naval forces which may be in course of passage through the Turkish Straits are limited to 9 and 15.000 tons respectively.
· The maximum aggregate tonnage which non-riparian States may have in the Black Sea is 45.000 tons.
· In this regard, the maximum aggregate tonnage of the vessels of war that one non-riparian State may have in the Black Sea is 30.000 tons.
· Vessels of war belonging to non-riparian states cannot stay more than 21 days in the Black Sea.
· Passages through the Turkish Straits are notified to Turkey through diplomatic channels prior to intended passages. The notification time is 8 days for vessels of war belonging to riparian States, and 15 days for those of non-riparian States.