Ankara | Ten retired Turkish admirals have been arrested the day after they published an open letter signed by hundreds of former officials criticizing the head of state’s plan to build a canal in Istanbul, which they believe threatens freedom of navigation.
Ten retired admirals have been detained, according to the Ankara Attorney General’s Office. Four other former officers were not arrested because of their age, but were ordered to report to Ankara police within the next three days.
The prosecutor’s office said it had launched an investigation into the retired soldiers who signed the letter for a “meeting intended to commit crimes against state security and constitutional orders.”
Senior Turkish officials on Sunday denied an open letter signed by more than 100 retired admirals against threats that they believe in the “Istanbul Canal” project, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for an agreement guaranteeing free travel across the Bosphorus Strait.
Turkey’s approval last month to develop a navigation canal comparable to Panama or Suez in Istanbul sparked talks on the Montreux Convention.
One of President Erdogan’s so-called “crazy projects” is the “Canal Istanbul”, which has seen Turkey transform its infrastructure in 18 years as a government with new airports, bridges, roads and tunnels. Authority.
The government argues that the canal will provide relief to Istanbul from the world’s busiest phosphorus and a new attraction.
In addition to its impact on the environment, opponents say the project could be compromised at the 1936 Montreux Convention, which guarantees free navigation of civilian vessels on the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits during peacetime. Of war.
In their open letter to the 104 retired admirals, they said it was “worrying” to start a discussion on the Montreux agreement, saying it was an agreement that would “protect Turkish interests as well as possible”.
The Admirals’ letter provoked a sharp response from government officials.
“Not only the signatories, but also those who promote them will be held accountable in court,” President Erdogan Communications chief Fahretin Altun said on Twitter on Sunday.
The presidency said Erdogan would address the GMT summit at 12 noon on Monday.