Turkish court releases ex-admirals detained over Montreux declaration
A Turkish court has released all retired admirals detained for urging the government to preserve the Montreux Convention. The last to be released was Ergun Mengi, who said that the declaration was prepared in good will.
All retired admirals who were detained for releasing a declaration that called on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to preserve an 85-year-old maritime accord have been freed on condition of judicial control.
Fourteen former military officials were previously detained over the April 3 declaration, which was signed by 104 retired admirals and urged against anything that could make the Montreux Convention the subject of debate. The government was quick to slam the statement for "suggesting a coup."
Prosecutors in the capital Ankara subsequently launched an investigation into the retired admirals for conspiring against state security and detentions were carried out.
The last to be released was Ergun Mengi, who was determined to be the former army official that prepared the statement, early on April 13.
"The text was clear and was prepared in good will," Mengi said upon being released.
The Montreux Convention that was signed in 1936 gives Turkey control over its straits and regulates the transit of naval warships.
The retired admirals defended the accord as strategically important for security, given President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's authority to withdraw from international pacts. Last month, the president suddenly ditched an international accord meant to prevent violence against women, the Istanbul Convention.
All 14 former army officials were released on condition of judicial control.