Erdogan may meet Putin face-to-face on Black Sea grain deal

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan may visit Russia soon

Yayınlanma: 21.08.2023 - 16:36
Erdogan may meet Putin face-to-face on Black Sea grain deal
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Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey, has indicated that Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan might soon travel to Russia for direct discussions. Erdogan made this announcement while discussing his upcoming schedule, noting that he is considering the possibility of face-to-face talks with his Russian counterpart to address matters related to the Black Sea grain deal.

Erdogan elaborated, stating, "Amidst a busy calendar next month, with the G-20 meeting in India and the UN General Assembly in the US, if circumstances allow, we intend to meet and converse with (Vladimir) Putin in person." He shared this insight with reporters while aboard the presidential plane, returning from a visit to Hungary on Sunday.

Erdogan's visit to Budapest was in celebration of St. Stephen's Day, Hungary's national day, and also coincided with the World Athletics Championships. During this visit, he engaged in separate discussions with Hungarian counterparts, including Katalin Novak, his Hungarian counterpart, and Prime Minister Viktor Orban. These conversations encompassed topics ranging from bilateral relations to regional and global developments.

Erdogan highlighted that a potential visit by Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan to Russia could yield more favorable outcomes in discussions.

Regarding the potential for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, Erdogan expressed his hope that successful results might be achieved if both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy agree to Turkish mediation.

In recent weeks, Russia suspended its participation in a grain deal that it signed last summer along with Turkey, the United Nations, and Ukraine. The agreement aimed to recommence grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports that had been halted due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict that commenced in February 2022. Moscow has repeatedly voiced concerns about the lack of implementation on the Russian side of the agreement.

Ankara has been actively engaged in diplomatic efforts to restore the deal. Notably, Turkey has been recognized for its mediating role between Ukraine and Russia and has consistently urged Kyiv and Moscow to resolve the conflict through negotiations.

Responding to queries about a recent ship departing from Ukraine's Odesa port and reaching the Istanbul Strait, Erdogan clarified that the vessel is a container ship, not a grain carrier. He referred to a statement from the Turkish National Defense Ministry on this matter and emphasized Turkey's aim to secure Russia's positive stance on the grain corridor issue through discussions with Putin.

The Joseph Schulte, a container ship flying the Hong Kong flag, became the first vessel to depart Odesa after Russia withdrew from the Black Sea grain initiative last month.

Ministry sources confirmed that Turkey's stance has been clear from the outset, asserting the importance of the successful and beneficial grain corridor. Under the landmark deal, around 33 million tons of grain were transported from Ukrainian ports, demonstrating its effectiveness and value. Officials reiterated that Turkey's efforts are concentrated on reactivating this vital grain initiative.

The sources stressed that there is no substitute for the Black Sea grain deal.

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