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Turkey blocks Russian flights to Syria — RT World News

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced on Saturday that his country would deny passage to Russian flights to Syria. Although Turkey is a member of NATO, it has not sanctioned Russia over the conflict in Ukraine and is discussing airspace rights with Moscow as part of broader Black Sea maritime rights negotiations. .

“We have closed the airspace to Russian military planes and even civilian planes flying to Syria and carrying soldiers,” Cavusoglu told reporters before leaving for Uruguay. The minister added that permission to fly its troops in Turkish airspace had been granted to Russia in three-month increments, with the last expiring this month.

“From now on, the thefts have stopped”, Cavusoglu added, telling reporters that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had already informed his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, of the decision.

Discussions around resuming flights would be incorporated into negotiations on the Montreux Convention, he added, referring to an international agreement governing maritime traffic in the Black Sea. The agreement guarantees unlimited access to the sea for civilian ships in times of peace, but authorizes Turkey to close the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles Strait to military ships in times of war.

Turkey invoked the convention to deny Russian warships access to the Black Sea following Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine in February, but restricted only Russian ships whose homeports were outside the Black Sea.

Although Turkey is a member of NATO, it has neither sanctioned nor condemned Russia for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Instead, Ankara, which buys gas from Russia and deploys some Russian weapons systems alongside those of NATO, has positioned itself as a mediator between Moscow and Kyiv. While negotiations aimed at resolving the conflict – including talks in Ankara last month – have so far failed to yield positive results, Cavusoglu said on Saturday that behind-the-scenes negotiations were still ongoing and that “a draft joint declaration” is ongoing, focusing on “impartiality, security and guarantees.”

Cavusoglu warned, however, that Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would have to make a final decision on the declaration. The Turkish minister also accused NATO of pushing for “the war in Ukraine continues” with the aim of weakening Russia.

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