- Turkish Straits
The term Turkish Straits ( _tr. Türk Boğazları) in northwestern
Turkeyrefers to the two narrow straits that connect the Sea of Marmarawith the Aegean arm of the Mediterranean Seaon the one side and the Black Seaon the other. They are conventionally considered as the boundary between the continents of Europeand Asia. The Straits are an international waterway, governed since 1936 by the Montreux Convention.
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 Bridgeand Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge), with a rail tunnel currently under construction ( Marmaray).
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 Gallipoliduring the First World War.
The Straits Question
The Straits have been of urgent maritime strategic importance since the
Trojan Warwas fought near the Aegean entrance. In the declining days of the Ottoman Empirethe "Straits Question" involved the diplomats of Europe and Turkey.
By terms of the
London Straits Conventionconcluded on July 13th, 1841between the Great Powersof Europe— Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Austria and Prussia — the "ancient rule" of the Ottoman Empirewas re-established by closing the Turkish straits to all warshipswhatsoever, barring those of the Sultan's alliesduring 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 ]
treatyis 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 Turkeyand Imperial Russia) warships in the case of a general war.
moderntreaty controlling relations is the Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Turkish Straitsfrom 1936, which is still in force.
List of maritime incidents in the Turkish Straits
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
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