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Turkiye to abide by Montreux Convention with no double standard: Foreign minister

Turkiye will keep implementing the Montreux Convention with no double standards, the country’s foreign minister said on Friday.

“Turkiye has always sided with international law and has always complied with the deals to which it is a party,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told Turkish television network NTV, adding that Ankara would continue implementing the Montreux Convention with all its articles and without a double standard.

The 1936 convention gives Turkey control of its straits and authority to regulate the transit of naval warships.

Saying that whether there is a war requires a legal definition, he noted that “war” is not used in the UN and NATO documents yet, but there is a war, as the people say.

He also added that related authorities, including lawyers, soldiers and Foreign Ministry officials are currently analyzing the convention, after a Ukrainian request on the issue.

‘Evacuation of Turkish citizens underway’

Cavusoglu said the evacuation process of Turkish nationals in Ukraine is underway.

“We can no longer evacuate [our citizens] by air because the airspace is closed, we cannot evacuate by the sea too, so we started evacuation through the land by buses,” he said.

Cavusoglu said nearly 5,000 Turkish citizens have already returned to the country following warnings the Turkish Foreign Ministry has made since Feb. 12, and they have reached nearly 16,000 citizens in Ukraine by phone.

He also said necessary preparation is underway to evacuate Ahiska Turks, Gagauz Turks and Crimean Tatars as well, if needed.

‘Ukrainians should decide who rules country’

On Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call for a military takeover in Ukraine, he said those remarks were strange and unacceptable.

“We oppose the removal of elected governments by undemocratic methods … the Ukrainian people should decide who will rule Ukraine. We are always on the side of legitimacy,” added Cavusoglu.

Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine entered its second day on Friday, with the latest reports indicating that Russian troops were heading toward the capital, Kyiv, from several directions.

Putin ordered the military intervention Thursday, days after recognizing two separatist-held enclaves in eastern Ukraine.

He claimed that Moscow had no plan to occupy the neighboring country, but wanted to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of trying to install a puppet government and said Ukrainians will defend their country against Russian aggression.

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