AFP: Turkey has not ratified the Black Sea Mine Clearance Agreement

The trilateral agreement on mine clearance in the Black Sea signed in January by Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey has not yet entered into force as it has not been ratified by Ankara, AFP reports.

The delay is linked to the parliamentary recess, which was announced because of the municipal elections on 31 March, a Turkish defense ministry source told AFP. A parliamentary source confirmed the information.

To enter into force, international agreements are subject to a vote by the Turkish parliament, except for certain categories of technical or economic agreements, which can be approved directly by the head of state.

The Black Sea Mine Countermeasures (BSMC) agreement, signed on January 11 in Istanbul, has so far neither been directly approved by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan nor submitted to parliament for ratification.

Turkish officials have not yet given an estimate of a specific date.

The initiative, in which Turkish naval forces play a major role, is meant to secure Ukrainian grain exports along the Romanian and Bulgarian coasts - an alternative shipping route created after the end of the grain corridor denounced by Russia in the summer of 2023 - as well as ensure safety in the three countries' maritime zones.

BGNES reminds that on April 15, the Bulgarian interim defense minister Atanas Zapryanov said that the Turkish parliament had ratified the trilateral agreement, for which he had received an assurance from the Turkish ambassador to our country.

"We have the green light to implement the agreement in practice. So far, we have carried out preliminary coordination. Military planning has already begun," Zapryanov said at the time. / BGNES