Türkiye warned Russia after Black Sea ship attack: Ankara

Türkiye warned Moscow to avoid further escalations after a Turkish-owned cargo vessel was attacked by the Russian navy last weekend, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's office said on Aug. 17. 

"After the (Russian) intervention, our interlocutors in the Russian Federation were warned appropriately to avoid such attempts, which escalate tensions in the Black Sea," the Turkish presidency said.

The Şükrü Okan vessel was flying the flag of Palau when it was fired on by the Russian navy last Sunday.

Russian military personnel then boarded the ship to conduct an inspection, before letting it sail on toward the Ukrainian port of Izmail - the main export route for Ukrainian agricultural products.

The incident came during a spike in Black Sea region attacks that followed Russia's decision to withdraw from a landmark Ukrainian grain deal last month.

Türkiye helped broker the UN-backed agreement, using its good relations with both Moscow and Kiev to help strike the only major deal reached by the sides during the war.


"Even if the owner of the Şükrü Okan vessel is Turkish, the ship is not Turkish flagged," Erdoğan's office said.

"In international law, it is the 'flag state' that is more important than the name of the ship or the personality of its personal."

Palau is a Pacific archipelago whose flag is often used by shipping companies to freely access international ports.

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