Ship watchers in Istanbul see tensions rising between Ukraine and Russia – NRK Urix – Foreign news and documentaries

Işık took a picture of a Russian submarine traveling around the world these days.

“When many warships passed by, we knew something was up,” he told NRK.

Yörük Işık could predict that tensions would rise internationally by following the traffic right outside the living room door. Now ship scouts are busy photographing Russian submarines and naval vessels early and late.

Yes, it may have become a lifestyle. But I have a degree in international politics and I am very interested in Russian foreign policy and relations with the world.

LIFESTYLE: Photographer and journalist Yörük Işık loves sailing, his hometown of Istanbul and international politics. He put all this together in mocking the ship. This image is from when NRK met him last summer at one of his regular lookouts.

Photo: Sidsel Wold / NRK

Hold your breath

Some Western countries believe Russia is preparing for an invasion. The United States said it could launch air strikes “at any time”. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken believes Russia could attack Ukraine during the Olympics, without going into further detail on the basis of the claim.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States of wanting to provoke war. Russia has repeatedly stated that it has no plans to attack Ukraine.

A number of countries, including Norway, have asked their citizens to leave Ukraine. Some have pulled embassy staff out of the capital Kiev for fear of an impending war.

The red dot is a permanent Russian military base with combat troops. The white-red mark is the new department since March 2021.

Expected more NATO traffic

While Western leaders traveled by shuttle bus to Moscow and Kiev to prevent war, ship scouts in Istanbul followed the activities of the Bosphorus.

Yörük Işık was a little surprised that there was so little traffic from the NATO countries they last days.

– In such a tense situation, we expected NATO to send military ships too, but no. There are no western warships in the Black Sea now.

– I think the NATO countries have decided not to send ships, not to give Russia a pretext to attack. NATO prefers to use diplomacy and pressure now.

Wandering Light on the other hand, it has seen six Russian landing craft, ships that can carry tanks, vehicles, cargo and landing troops directly ashore.

– The Rostov-on-Don submarine that passed this weekend is equipped with Kalibr missiles that can easily hit targets inside Ukraine, he said.

Russia has taken ships from the Baltic Fleet and the North Sea Fleet to strengthen its military presence in the Black Sea.

– Usually we see NATO ships here when tensions rise, like last summer. We’ll see if NATO changes its mind, and it will show up here anyway.

Russian Navy diesel-electric submarine Rostov-on-Don sailing on Istanbul's Bosphorus

Here we see the crew of the Russian submarine Rostov-on-Don sailing past Karaköy towards Beşiktaş in central Istanbul. Işık shot for Reuters on Sunday 13 January.

Photo: YORUK Isik / Reuters

Flashing shot

At the end of June 2021, he also did a photo shoot that toured the world.

Then the British battleship Defender was on its way to the Black Sea. Shortly after, there were reports that Russian fighter jets and naval vessels have fired warning shots at British warplanes, which are in the seas off Crimea.

However, the UK denied the episode, which made international headlines.

– Seeing Russian warships here is not unusual. But before Russia entered the Syrian conflict in 2015, we suddenly saw many more, often two or three naval vessels per day. Then we understood that something was going on. You can follow world politics from here, he said enthusiastically.

He sells photos to Reuters and also writes his own articles.


ON THE JOURNEY TO THE BLACK SEA: England defender and Dutch ship Everton en route through the Bosphorus last summer. Yörük Işık captures the ship with a camera.

Photo: YORUK Isik / Reuters

Increased traffic with Biden

When President Joe Biden moved into the White House last year, activity suddenly increased.

I think Biden will send the message that the old United States is back and Trump’s time is over. Biden even called Putin a murderer. 2021 begins with a large US presence, and levels are as high as when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, said Wandering Light.

An American ship sailed in, and when it had to depart after three weeks, another sailed in. This continues until the meeting between Biden and Putin in Geneva in mid-June 2021. After that we see fewer ships and coolers.

Olenegorsky Gornyak Russian Navy sails on Istanbul's Bosphorus

NIGHT SAILING: On February 9, the Russian landing craft Olenegorsky Gornyak sailed past President Erdoğan’s large mosque on the Asian side of Istanbul and headed for the Black Sea.

Photo: MURAD SEZER / Reuters

But not everyone can sail through the strategic strait that leads to the Black Sea via Istanbul.

Traffic is regulated by the Treaty of Montreux, signed in 1936, between the Balkan states of Bulgaria, Greece, the former Yugoslavia, Romania, Turkey and France, Japan, the former Soviet Union and the United Kingdom.

The treaty established the main rules for the use of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus in peace and war. The Dardanelles is a strait between the Mediterranean and the Sea of ​​Marmara that leads to the Bosphorus.

The Bosphorus Strait as Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge is seen in the background in Istanbul, Friday, August 19, 2016.

NOT FORWARD: The Treaty of Montreux clarifies Turkey’s sovereignty over the strategic Bosphorus Strait which stretches from the Sea of ​​Marmara to the Black Sea.

Photo: Thanassis Stavrakis / AP

Have set up some cameras

Many warships could pass, but they had to notify Turkey 15 days before entering. Then they had to leave the Black Sea after 21 days. As long as the traffic in the Montreux agreement, Turkey said yes.

But aircraft carriers and submarines cannot easily enter the Black Sea, nor can naval vessels of any size, according to Yörük Işık.

Yörük Işık shipspotter ved Bosporous

JOURNEY: Whenever a ship approaches Yörük Işık’s best vantage point in the busy strait, it flees immediately. The camera is like an extension of his arm. The photo is from last summer.

Photo: Sidsel Wold / NRK

How can you keep up with traffic all the time, you have to sleep too?

We are some ship scouts in Istanbul, and we text each other when we see a special ship. We have also installed cameras along the strait, so that we can see and have evidence of what happened at night.

Elena Eland

"Web specialist. Incurable twitteraholic. Explorer. Organizer. Internet nerd. Avid student."

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