Turkish Embassy confirms checks of Russian vessels

'An ordinary verification procedure is underway', Embassy said

Turkey really has been checking Russian ships for documents permitting them to go through the Bosporus Strait, but the number of such inspections has been clearly overstated by the media, a representative of the Turkish Embassy to Moscow told Interfax.

"Russian vessels are being checked for possession of necessary documents and technical defects. After the relevant documents are presented and the defects are done away with they are permitted to continue their voyage. This cannot be called detention. An ordinary verification procedure is underway," the Embassy representative said.

"The number of ships mentioned in the news has been overstated," he added.

In turn, Deputy Transport Minister Viktor Olersky told Interfax on Thursday that the alleged detention of 27 Russian commercial vessels by Turkey to retaliate against the detention of Turkish vessels in the Black Sea was not true.

"This is not true," he said.

The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet wrote on Dec. 16 that 27 commercial ships flying the Russian flag had been detained because they lacked appropriate documents.

The Hurriyet said the Turkish authorities had done that in response to Russia's alleged detention of eight commercial vessels in the period from November 24, when Turkey downed Russia's Sukhoi Su-24 bomber in Syria, till Dec.15.

An unnamed source said that Ankara did nothing at first, expecting detentions of Turkish vessels to stop. That did not happen, and Turkey decided to act accordingly regarding Russian ships.

Authorities of the two countries are exchanging emails with regard to this situation, and a meeting has been agreed upon, the newspaper said. According to the Hurriyet, the time and venue of the meeting is yet unknown but the sides have demonstrated their wishes to resolve the problem.

Press Digest: Black Sea confrontation keeps Russia-Turkey tensions high>>>

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