Former Turkish admirals arrested due to criticism of Erdogan’s “crazy” plan for the channel | Turkey

Turkey 10 retired admirals arrested for their public criticism of “madness” of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Istanbul Canal project, Which will create a new waterway from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea in addition to the current Bosphorus.

The arrest warrants issued on Monday came a day after a group of 104 former senior Navy officials signed an open letter warning that the proposed canal could harm Turkish security by nullifying an 85-year-old international treaty. Designed to prevent the militarization of the Black Sea.

The statement criticizing the plan was met with anger from Turkish officials, who interpreted it as a direct challenge from the military to the civilian government, “echoing the times of the coup.”

The Turkish military has long considered itself the guarantor of the country’s secular constitution, staging three coups between 1960 and 1980. Erdoan’s government also survived an attempted coup in July 2016, which it blamed on followers of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. Hundreds of thousands of military, civil servants, lawyers, and academics have been fired or arrested in the past five years for alleged links to the preacher.

“A group of retired soldiers are putting themselves in a laughable and miserable position with their statement, which reflects the times of the military coup,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.

“The [group] You should know that our esteemed nation and its representatives will never allow this mentality. “

“Not only those who signed, but also those who encourage them will report to justice,” said Fakhreddin Altun, Erdogan’s chief press aide.

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The Prosecutor’s Office in Ankara has launched an investigation into the statement, according to the official Anatolia News Agency, and four other people suspected of having collected the statement have been called together to report to the police within the next three days.

The proposed Istanbul channel is the most ambitious of the dozens of channels that Erdogan calls ‘Crazy’ projects Large-scale infrastructure development projects that have come to define Turkey’s economic boom and bust during his 18 years in office.

Plans for a second Bosphorus were drawn up in 2011 and finally approved last month. The 28-mile (45 km) corridor will be built west of the natural waterway in order to relieve heavy traffic and reduce the risk of accidents on the existing strait.

So far, Turkish officials have insisted on the 1936 Montreux Agreement – which opened the Bosphorus to less than a certain volume of civilian shipping. And the neighboring sea to the Black Sea – It will not be applied to the new channel. In theory, this means that Turkey could theoretically allow any ships it wants to pass to the Black Sea, including US warships, in effect leading to the militarization of the waters dominated by Russia.

The canal’s £ 9.5 billion plan was put on hold in 2018 when the Turkish lira crashed. Its re-introduction has raised concerns among critics who say it will wreak environmental havoc and that costs are likely to escalate.

“Montreux made Turkey The possibility of maintaining its neutrality during World War II. The statement from the retired Navy said there was a need to avoid any statements and actions that would cause the Montreux Convention, an important treaty related to Turkey’s survival, to be brought up for discussion.

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According to the news site Khabar Türk, the former admirals are accused of plotting against state security and the constitutional order.

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