Russia, Ukraine should honor the grain deal: Erdoğan
The Russian attack towards the Ukraine’s Odesa Port a day after Moscow and Kiev agreed on the establishment of a secure food corridor in the Black Sea displays how the process is still very sensitive, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, calling on both sides to honor their signature and implement the deal thoroughly.
“We expect everyone to honor their signatures and act in line with the responsibilities they bear [with this agreement]. We also ask them to refrain from moves that would be against the spirit of the agreement,” Erdoğan said in an interview with the state broadcaster, TRT, late July 25.
Türkiye and the U.N. brokered a historic deal on July 22 with Russia and Ukraine so that they can resume their export of grain, fertilizers and other food products through the Black Sea to the world markets in a bid to avoid a major food crisis around the world. But the Russian attack against a military target near the Odesa Port caused concerns about the implementation of the deal.
Ankara intensified its diplomacy after the attack in a bid to avoid the repetition of it, the president hinted, stressing “A failure here will be to all of our disadvantage. We remind this to them. We are determined to implement the deal with all its aspects and our efforts to this end continue.”
On a question, Erdoğan reiterated that Türkiye’s main objective is to reinstall peace and stability in the region by ending the armed conflict in Ukraine, expressing his hope that the deal will pave the way for a comprehensive ceasefire as well.
‘We are playing an important role’
On his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tehran on the sidelines of the Astana Summit, Erdoğan describes his talks with him as “very different.” “Because we are now playing a very important role in the Putin-[Ukraine President Volodymyr] Zelensky dispute. Because we don’t consider anybody as a foe. We are seeing them both as a friend and this brings about a very sincere approach from both sides,” he explained.
Criticizing the West’s approach towards Putin, Erdoğan said “If you treat [him] like this, how will Putin see you?”
Describing his talks with Putin where they have discussed all the aspects of the bilateral relations as positive, he stated, “There are some disagreements between us on certain issues and due to the negative impacts of the war. But, as known, we have not endorsed the world’s view on the S-400 issue. To the contrary, we moved in the way we believe. We have to sustain our relations with Russia on the basis of mutual interest and develop them in areas that have a potential.”
Syria hotbed for terrorists
Informing that the primary issue he discussed with Putin and Iranian President Ebrahim Reisi was the counterterrorism in Syria’s eastern and western provinces, Erdoğan said, “Syria has become the hotbed of terror organizations. Therefore, both Russia and Iran should adopt a stance on Syria. Especially since, in both eastern and western Euphrates, the PKK/YPG are continuing their attacks against civilians and our country.”
Erdoğan said he conveyed Türkiye’s determination in enduring its struggle against the terror organizations in his meetings with both leaders.
Erdoğan also repeated that the United States should withdraw its troops from the eastern Euphrates and cease its support to the YPG. On a question of whether Türkiye is mulling launching a new operation in northern Syria, Erdoğan said “Our determination is still alive. We never attack those who don’t attack us.”
‘PKK attacked civilians in Duhok’
On a question about an attack in the Duhok province of northern Iraq that killed civilians, Erdoğan said “The incident in Duhok is one of the same terror attacks committed by the PKK, YPG, PYD that we used to see. We are not new to this. We told America, Russia ‘Don’t fall in a trap, this is what happened there.’ We told the same to our friends, brothers in Iraq.”
Baghdad has blamed Türkiye for the attack and filed an official complaint to the U.N. over the incident. President Erdoğan recalled that it is impossible for Türkiye to do such a thing, saying “The purpose is to ruin the positive ties between Türkiye and Iraq.”
Iraq has decided to withdraw from the Islamic Games to be organized by Türkiye in Konya, Erdoğan said, “I am saddened by this decision. Iraq should not do such a thing. I asked my friends to talk with the Iraqi side to clarify this statement because we want to see Iraq participating to these games.”