The Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Policies and Minister of Transport and Communications, Hristo Alexiev, sent a letter to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of Turkey, Adil Karaismailoglu, regarding reports from Bulgarian maritime associations on the spread of information about a planned fivefold increase in tariffs for passage through the Black Sea Straits, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles.
The letter states that so far no official notice of the upcoming fee increase has been received by the Bulgarian authorities. The Minister of Transport points out that such an amendment can be requested by each of the States Parties to the Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits at the end of each five-year period from its entry into force, by making a corresponding proposal to the other contracting parties. Its admission depends on the support of at least two countries, three months before the expiration of the document’s five-year term. All States Parties to the Convention should be notified of the supported proposal on the introduction of new conditions. An important condition is that, in addition to the proposed amendments, the notice should also contain the reasons for its adoption.
Minister Alexiev firmly states that the Bulgarian business in the sector will be significantly damaged by such circumstances. The Deputy Prime Minister made a request to his Turkish colleague Karaismailoglu for the provision of official information, and until the matter is clarified, the mentioned measure should not be applied.
Hristo Alexiev also had a talk with the Ambassador of Turkey to Bulgaria, H.E. Aylin Sekizkök, expressing a position that the introduction of a fivefold increase in the fees for crossing the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, in the situation of the economic crisis caused by the COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine, will lead to severe consequences for the economy of the countries in the Black Sea Region. The Deputy Prime Minister insisted that, before taking such a step, a discussion should be held between all parties concerned, at which the effects of this measure should be discussed, and until then its implementation should be suspended.