President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he is planning to talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the coming days to find a way to export Ukraine’s grain to the world markets through the Black Sea.
“Talks are underway. Along with these talks, we have also arranged meetings with relevant persons. We will probably discuss what steps we have to take with Mr. Putin and Mr. Zelensky in the next week,” Erdoğan said at a meeting with the youngsters in the eastern province of Van over the weekend.
President Erdoğan referred to ongoing efforts to export around 25 million tons of Ukraine grain to the world markets by creating a secure food corridor in the Black Sea in a bid to avoid a major global food crisis. Ukraine is one of largest wheat exporters, but the war has blocked the shipment of millions of tons of grain. The UN urges that action must be taken before the world’s poorest nations, particularly in Africa, are faced with famine.
Turkey has around five million tons of wheat, barley, sunflower seed oil and does not have a big problem, Erdoğan said, “But, despite this, we want to increase these figures.” Talks with Russia are ongoing, the president said, “We will not only be working to supply our needs but to transport goods to the third countries by re-exporting them.”
Turkey and the UN have been working on a plan for the transport of the Ukrainian wheat to the world markets, Ankara hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week to discuss the plans. Although there was no imminent breakthrough, talks will continue in the coming days to find a solution.
Turkey proposes to coordinate the process with the UN through a mechanism to be established in Istanbul and to help Ukraine to de-mine the Odesa Port so that the vessels can safely sail into the Black Sea. However, both Russia and Ukraine have important conditions before this operation is agreed. Turkey and the UN are trying to find a way to assure both countries.
Erdoğan slams Greek PM Mitsotakis
On ties with Greece, President Erdoğan recalled his meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Istanbul in March where they agreed not to include third parties in the bilateral efforts to resolve the ongoing Turkish-Greek issues.
“But after only three weeks, you [Mitsotakis] go to America and make an anti-Turkey speech at the Senate. You speak about the F-16s [Turkey wants to buy from the United States]. You cannot fool us Mitsotakis,” he said, urging him not to repeat such moves.
There are nine military bases which Greece claims to be against Russia, Erdoğan said, “You say they are against Russia. What did you do for Ukraine against Russia? Could you stand with Ukraine? Everything they say is a lie. One cannot trust to the West.”
Hurriyet Daily News