Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria Sign Memorandum to Combat Mine Threat in Black Sea

Turkey recently blocked British minehunter vessels donated to Ukraine from entering the Black Sea.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 03:08 PM, January 11, 2024
  • 448
Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria Sign Memorandum to Combat Mine Threat in Black Sea
Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria Sign Memorandum to Combat Mine Threat in Black Sea

In response to the evolving security situation in the Black Sea, exacerbated by military operations in Ukraine, the defense ministries of Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria have formally signed a memorandum to establish an anti-mine naval group.

The development comes days after Turkey blocked British minehunter vessels donated to Ukraine from entering the Black Sea.

The Turkish Defense Ministry announced the development on X (formerly Twitter), underscoring the region's growing mine threat. Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler, speaking at the signing ceremony, emphasized the need for protective measures due to the negative impact of military operations in Ukraine on Black Sea security. "Last summer, the three countries decided to take protective measures and establish a joint team. The decision was made, and now you can see that it has been signed," Minister Guler stated.

Guler clarified that the joint initiative would exclusively involve the naval forces of the three signatory nations, focusing on combating the mine threat in the Black Sea. The memorandum establishes a committee that will make decisions on multilateral anti-mine efforts through a majority vote. "The initiative will be open only for vessels from the three Black Sea nations," Minister Guler remarked.

He expressed appreciation for potential contributions from countries outside the Black Sea region and allies, indicating that their involvement could be considered under appropriate conditions.

The memorandum is perceived by Guler as a substantial contribution to maintaining security in the Black Sea. A joint committee involving members of the three nations' navies will oversee the collaborative effort and address issues related to the potential participation of other Black Sea littoral countries. Highlighting Turkey's commitment to regional stability, Guler mentioned their previous efforts to organize a grain corridor for food security. He emphasized adherence to the Montreux Convention regarding the Turkish Straits, expressing gratitude to countries for their commitment to the convention and urging them to maintain the same attitude.

Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria Sign Memorandum to Combat Mine Threat in Black Sea

The need for the joint effort arises from drifting mines in the Black Sea, which have approached coastal ports and the mouth of the Bosporus Strait. This prompted Turkey to co-sponsor the creation of a joint team dedicated to demining the sea.

In September 2023, NATO countries conducted anti-mine naval drills in Romanian waters, involving over 200 navy personnel from Bulgaria, France, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Meanwhile, Turkey said it has informed the United Kingdom that the Montreux Convention prohibits minehunter vessels donated by the UK to Ukraine from entering the Black Sea.

Recent media reports claimed that Turkey allowed a Sandown-class minehunter vessel to enter the Black Sea, heading towards Romania's territorial waters, causing tension with Moscow. The Turkish Center to Counter Disinformation under the presidential administration denied these reports on January 2, emphasizing Turkey's adherence to the Montreux Convention. The UK had previously announced plans to provide Ukraine with two Sandown-class ships.

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