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21 Jul, 2023 15:02

Erdogan appeals to West over Black Sea grain deal

The Turkish leader claims Moscow would prolong the agreement if its demands were met  
Erdogan appeals to West over Black Sea grain deal

The West should start fulfilling Russia’s expectations from the Black Sea grain deal so that the “vital initiative” can be continued, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

The agreement expired on Monday after Moscow refused to prolong it, citing the failure of the US and EU to keep their part of the deal and allow exports of Russian food products and fertilizer.

The landmark agreement had been signed in July 2022 through mediation by the UN and Türkiye, and created a corridor for the safe passage of vessels with Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.

“Russia has some expectations [from the grain deal]. If these are met, Russia is in favor of active operation of this grain corridor,” Erdogan told journalists on Friday.

“We are aware that [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin also has certain expectations from Western countries, and it is crucial for these countries to take action in this regard,” he insisted, as quoted by the Daily Sabah newspaper. 

The Turkish leader warned that “the termination of the Black Sea grain deal will have a series of consequences, ranging from the increase in global food prices to scarcity in certain regions and, potentially, leading to new waves of migration.” 

He expressed confidence that “by thoroughly discussing” the issue with Putin, “we can ensure the continuation of this humanitarian effort.”

Erdogan described the grain deal as a “consensus... that serves humanity in a war environment,” adding that he was eager to use “all instruments of diplomacy” to ensure that it continues.

The Turkish president said he was expecting to hold a phone conversation with Putin “soon” to discuss issues including the future of the grain deal. He also reiterated his claim that the Russian leader would visit Türkiye in August, although the Kremlin has yet to confirm that a trip is being planned.

Putin said on Thursday that Moscow could consider the resumption of the Black Sea grain deal, but only if all the agreed terms of Russian participation are “implemented without exception.”