Vedat Demirtaş, a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Diyarbakır branch, threatened a group of retired admirals who had warned the government against a possible threat to a treaty governing the use of Turkey’s key waterways.
According to the Duvar news website, Demirtaş shared a photo on Twitter of guns in his car with the caption, “We are waiting for you.” Demirtaş also said he would not hesitate to take action if the admirals insisted on their warning. Demirtaş’s Twitter page has since been closed.
More than 100 admirals said in a letter that it was worrisome to open the Montreux Convention up to debate after Turkish authorities approved plans to develop a shipping canal in Istanbul comparable to the Panama or Suez canals.
The Montreux Convention ensures the free passage through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits of civilian vessels in times of both peace and war.
It also regulates the use of the straits by military vessels from non-Black Sea states.
Turkish officials have reacted angrily to the letter, claiming it appears to be a call for a coup.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants for 10 of the admirals and ordered four others to report to the Ankara Police Department within three days, opting not to detain them because of their age. They were accused of “attempting to overturn the constitutional order.”