Turkey issues arrest warrants over retired admirals’ open letter

Open letter is harshly condemned by the government, which says the move is ‘reminiscent of coup times’.

Turkey issued 10 arrest warrants on Monday over a letter released by more than 100 retired admirals warning about a possible threat to a treaty governing the use of Turkey’s key waterways.

The development, reported by state-run Anadolu news agency, comes a day after the letter was sharply condemned by the government, which said the move is “reminiscent of coup times” in Turkey’s past.

Ankara’s approval last month of plans to develop a shipping canal in Istanbul, comparable to the Panama or Suez canals, opened up debate about the 1936 Montreux Convention.

Kanal Istanbul (Istanbul Canal) is the most ambitious of what President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls his “crazy projects”, which have seen him transform Turkey’s infrastructure with new airports, bridges, roads and tunnels during his 18 years in power.

The Montreux Convention guarantees the free passage through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits of civilian vessels in times of both peace and war. It also regulates the use of the straits by military vessels from non-Black Sea states.

More soon …

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