Turkey has detained 10 admirals for public criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “crazy” Istanbul Canal project, which is in addition to the existing Bosporu Outside the Strait, a new channel from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean will be created.
The arrest warrant issued on Monday came the day before a group of 104 former senior navy officials signed an open letter, warning that the proposed canal could invalidate an 85-year-old international treaty aimed at preventing the militarization of the Black Sea, thereby compromising Turkey’s security. .
The statement criticizing the plan was met with outrage from Turkish officials, who interpreted it as “a response to the time of the coup”
The Turkish military has long regarded itself as the guarantor of the country’s secular constitution, and launched three coups between 1960 and 1980. The Erdogan government survived an attempted coup in July 2016 and blamed it on the followers of Fethullah Gülen, a clergyman based in the United States. In the past five years, thousands of military personnel, civil servants, lawyers, and academics have been fired or arrested on charges of ties to missionaries.
Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said on Twitter: “The remarks of a group of retired soldiers plunged themselves into a ridiculous and tragic situation, echoing the era of military coups.”
“This [group] We should know that our esteemed country and its representatives will never allow this mentality. “
Erdoğan’s top press assistant, Fahrettin Altun, said: “Not only the people who signed but also the people who encouraged them will also confess before justice is done.”
According to the state news agency Anadolu, the Ankara chief prosecutor’s office has investigated the statement, and four other persons suspected of putting the statement together have been required to report to the police within the next three days.
The proposed Istanbul Canal is the most ambitious of Erdoğan’s so-called “crazy” projects-large-scale infrastructure construction projects have defined Turkey’s 18 years of economic prosperity and depression.
In fact, the plan to create the second Bosphorus Strait was made in 2011 and finally approved last month. A 28-mile (45-kilometer) channel will be built west of the natural waterway to ease heavy traffic and reduce the risk of accidents in the existing channel.
So far, Turkish officials have insisted that the Montreux Convention of 1936 (opening the Bosphorus Strait to civilian ships of a certain size and the navy of its Black Sea neighbors) will not apply to the new canal. In theory, this means that Turkey can theoretically allow any ship it likes, including US warships, to pass through the Black Sea, effectively militarizing the waters under Russian rule.
When the Turkish lira collapsed, plans for a £9.5 billion canal were shelved in 2018. The reintroduction of it has attracted the attention of critics, who say it will cause serious damage to the environment, and the cost is likely to spiral upward.
“Montreux provided Turkey with the possibility to remain neutral during the Second World War. We believe that it is necessary to avoid any declarations and actions that might lead to discussion of the Montreux Convention, an important treaty for the survival of Turkey,” Naval Retiree The statement said.
According to the news website Habertürk, the former admiral is suspected of conspiring to endanger national security and constitutional order.