Following Turkey‘s decision last month to develop a navigation canal in Istanbul similar to the Panama and Suez canals, ten Turkish Admirals were arrested on Monday 29th of March after the publication of an open letter signed by around 100 former officers.
In addition, an investigation has been opened by the prosecutor’s office against the retired Military Officers who signed the letter for “gathering in the prospect of committing a crime against State Security and Constitutional Order”.
These Officiers consider the project as a threat to the freedom of navigation through the Bosphorus Strait, in addition to its impact on the environment. It could undermine the 1936 Montreux Convention, which guarantees the free passage of ships through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits.
As a matter of fact the new artificial canal will not be subject to the conditions of the Convention nor to any international regulations. The owning and operating authority will be free to regulate navigation as it sees fit.
However, Ankara does not intend to question the status of the Strait,.
Now, from a military-political point of view, the control of the canal would give Turkey the possibility to allow military ships to enter the Black Sea depending on its political alliances at the time.