Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently had a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where President Erdogan stressed the importance of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed Ukraine to export its grain via the Black Sea. The call came after Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the deal and its recent attacks which damaged Ukraine’s port and grain facilities.
President Erdogan reaffirmed Turkey’s efforts to restore the grain deal, which Turkey had played an important role in brokering, regarding it as a ‘bridge of peace’, stressing the importance and significance of the deal for peace. President Erdogan further added that actions that would escalate the Russia-Ukraine war should be avoided.
He was of the view that long-term suspension of the deal was not in anyone’s favor and that the ones most harmed will be the low-income countries that are in need of grain. He also pointed to the rise in prices of grain to around 15% in the last two weeks, which had actually reduced by around 23% while the deal was still in place. He said that Turkey would keep on working intensively in its efforts to continue the initiative.
Russia’s response reiterated its previous position where it had said that the Russian part of the deal was not being implemented and Russia would return back to the deal as soon as its conditions were met. The statement from Turkey pointed out that the Russian President was to visit Turkey, however, the statement did not specify a particular time for the meeting.
Moscow had recently withdrawn from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations. The deal allowed Ukraine to export its grain shipments through its Black Sea ports. The effort aimed to bring stability to food prices across the globe and prevent famines. Russia’s withdrawal came with a set of conditions, regarding its own grain exports, and noted that Russia would return to the deal once these conditions were met.
Author: Khushbakht Shahid is a student of the Strategic Studies Department at the National Defence University, Islamabad. Her areas of interest include regional politics, nuclear deterrence, arms control and disarmament.