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Navigating the Bosporus and the Dardanelles: A Test for the International Community

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image of The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

This article addresses the ongoing controversy over the 1994 Regulations imposed by Turkey over the traffic flow in the Strait of Istanbul, the Strait of Canakkale and the Sea of Marmara. It provides background information and a synopsis of the conflict, reviews the consistency of the Turkish Regulations with the existing international law, and offers a constructive suggestion for resolving the impasse. The navigation and the geo-political situation of the Straits is laid out followed by a presentation of, and comments on, the elements of the existing international legal regime governing the navigation in the Straits. A synopsis of the dispute is offered and the Turkish Regulations are reviewed. Elaborating on their ramifications, the article concludes that, while changes of the navigation control scheme of the Straits are unavoidable, it is only prudent for all involved parties to seek a lasting resolution of the present dispute through the amendment mechanism provided in the 1936 Montreux Convention. A framework for achieving this objective is presented.

Affiliations: 1: Sea Grant College Programme, Graduate College of Marine Studies, University of Delaware


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