Turkey calls Russian invasion of Ukraine a "war"
Turkish officials on Sunday called Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine a "war," a change in rhetoric that could pave the way for Turkey to block the passage of Russian warships to the Black Sea.
Driving the news: In accordance with the 1936 Montreux Convention, Turkey has control of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits that connect the Mediterranean and Black seas, and is able to limit the passage of warships during wartime or if threatened, per Reuters.
- Turkey previously enjoyed warm ties with both Russia and Ukraine, and shares a maritime border with both in the Black Sea. Ukraine's ambassador to Turkey had earlier urged the country to shut the straits to Russian warships.
- Up until now, Turkey had avoided referring to Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a war, merely saying that Russia's actions violated Ukraine's "political unity and integrity" and were "unacceptable."
What they're saying: "On the fourth day of the Ukraine war, we repeat President Erdoğan’s call for an immediate halt of Russian attacks and the start of ceasefire negotiations," Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, tweeted Sunday.
- "We will continue our efforts to help the people of Ukraine and end bloodshed in this unjust and unlawful war," he added.
- The rhetorical shift was echoed by Turkish spokesperson Fahrettin Altun, who repeatedly referred to the conflict as a war in a series of tweets Sunday.