4 million tons of Ukrainian grain exported to world markets: Erdoğan

4 million tons of Ukrainian grain exported to world markets: Erdoğan

4 million tons of Ukrainian grain exported to world markets: Erdoğan

The sum of exported grain from Ukraine to the world markets through the corridor established in the Black Sea has reached 4 million tons, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, expressing his hope for the start of the export of Russian fertilizers.

“Our first step in regard to the Russian-Ukranian war was about the creation of a grain corridor. Then came the exchange of the war prisoners. In this process, around 4 million tons of grain passed through this corridor [in the Black Sea],” Erdoğan told reporters on Sept. 23 in Istanbul.

Erdoğan referred to deal Ukraine and Russia signed with Türkiye and the United Nations for the resumption of the export of food products, grain and fertilizers from these two warring countries to the world markets to avoid a major global good crisis. As part of the deal, the Joint Coordination Center was established in Istanbul to control and coordinate the maritime transfer of these products. Russian and Ukrainian officials along with their colleagues from Türkiye and the U.N. are working together in the center.

Erdoğan emphasized that the start of the fertilizers exports from Russia to the poorer countries will constitute another important step. “If we can start this and export fertilizers, it will have important results for the underdeveloped countries,” Erdoğan said.

The Russian export did not start due to the concerns of secondary sanctions on the companies and banks that would be involved in the operation. Talks with the U.N. are still underway to overcome these obstacles.

Erdoğan also referred to the recent deal between Russia and Ukraine under the Turkish mediation for the exchange of around 200 war prisoners. “All of these 200 prisoners are our guests and under control. One of them was specifically demanded by Mr. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. We have sent this person to Russia,” he said, without naming this prisoner.

“We are running this process in a determined way and hosting our guests,” the president noted.

Options sought to replace MIR cards

Responding to a question, Erdoğan said the government was working on alternatives to replace the Russian MIR card being overwhelmingly used by the Russian tourists in Türkiye. Two private Turkish banks have stopped the use of these cards with fears that they may be subject of sanctions from the West, particularly the United States. Erdoğan was scheduled to hold a meeting with his economy officials late Friday, Sept. 23 to discuss the matter.

“We will continue to work on this,” the president said.