Turkish Straits

Turkish Straits

The term Turkish Straits ( _tr. Türk Boğazları) in northwestern Turkey refers to the two narrow straits that connect the Sea of Marmara with the Aegean arm of the Mediterranean Sea on the one side and the Black Sea on the other. They are conventionally considered as the boundary between the continents of Europe and Asia. The Straits are an international waterway, governed since 1936 by the Montreux Convention.

*The Istanbul Strait ("Boğaziçi" or "İstanbul Boğazı"), about 30 km long and only 700 m wide, connects the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea in the north. It runs right through the city of Istanbul, making it a city located on two continents. It is crossed by two suspension bridges (Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge), with a rail tunnel currently under construction (Marmaray).
*The Çanakkale Strait ("Çanakkale Boğazı"), 68 km long and 1.2 km wide, connects the Sea of Marmara with the Mediterranean in the southwest, near the city of Çanakkale. They were historically also known as the Hellespont, and they were the scene of the Battle of Gallipoli during the First World War.

The Straits Question

The Straits have been of urgent maritime strategic importance since the Trojan War was fought near the Aegean entrance. In the declining days of the Ottoman Empire the "Straits Question" involved the diplomats of Europe and Turkey.

By terms of the London Straits Convention concluded on July 13th, 1841 between the Great Powers of EuropeRussia, the United Kingdom, France, Austria and Prussia — the "ancient rule" of the Ottoman Empire was re-established by closing the Turkish straits to all warships whatsoever, barring those of the Sultan's allies during wartime. It thus benefited British naval power at the expense of Russian as the latter lacked direct access for its navy to the Mediterranean.cite book | title = The Turkish Straits | author = Christos L. Rozakis | publisher = Martinus NijhoffPublishers | year = 1987 | url=http://books.google.com/books?id=yJc7HWhF-K8C&pg=PA23&vq=russia&dq=The+Turkish+Straits&source=gbs_search_s&sig=ACfU3U1fPANxD_cQJx14mGVt7O5a5Kp46w | page = 24-25 ]

The treaty is one in a series dealing with access to the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles. It evolved from the secret "Hünkâr İskelesi" (Unkiar Skelessi), 1833, in which the Ottoman Turkey guaranteed exclusive use of the straits to "Black Sea Powers'" (i.e. Ottoman Turkey and Imperial Russia) warships in the case of a general war.

The modern treaty controlling relations is the Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Turkish Straits from 1936, which is still in force.

ee also

* List of maritime incidents in the Turkish Straits
* United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
* Marmara Region
* International law


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