Türkiye playing key role in Ukraine war: Erdoğan
Türkiye is playing a key role in its region thanks to its contacts with both Russia and Ukraine, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, underlining that the deal on the grain corridor could be possible by keeping the dialogue channels open.
“Türkiye is in a position of a key country capable of holding talks at every level with the parties in the war taking place in the north of our country, keeping the avenues of dialogue open and ensuring cooperation in such possible areas as the recent grain agreement,” Erdoğan said in his address at the graduation ceremony of the Ibn Haldun University in Istanbul late on July 24.
Erdoğan referred to the establishment of a food corridor in the Black Sea in order to let Ukraine and Russia export grain and fertilizers to the world markets to avoid a major food crisis. The deals were signed between Türkiye, Russia, Ukraine and the U.N. on July 22 in Istanbul. Türkiye has long been trying to mediate between Russia and Ukraine to end the armed conflict.
Underscoring that Türkiye was preparing itself having completed its recovery and growth to enter a period in which all the countries, from the developed to the least developed, were on the threshold of very grave political, economic and social turmoil, Erdoğan noted: “We are both consolidating the international legitimacy and increasing the regional support of our determination to clear our southern borders of terrorist organizations.”
Türkiye is also trying to reconcile with countries in the Middle East and Europe with whom it had problems in the past, Erdoğan said, adding, “The key is that point. The most essential thing is to win friends, not foes. That’s what we are doing successfully.”
“We have never disappointed all the friendly societies and countries that trust us by never leaving them alone,” he stated.
Works for grain corridor continue
In the meantime, the Defense Ministry announced late July 24 that works for setting up the coordination center that will bring the officials from Türkiye, Russia, Ukraine and the U.N. together continue.
“We are working hard at the Joint Coordination Center [JCC] established in Istanbul for the safe delivery of the grain waiting in Ukrainian ports to the countries all over the world,” the ministry said on Twitter.
“Coordination between authorities continues for the first ship loaded with grain to start sailing from Ukrainian ports as soon as possible,” it added.
It’s expected that the JCC will start to function within days so that the first ship from Ukrainian ports can sail into the Black Sea in the coming days. The sources stress that the operation may start as soon as possible after the JCC operates, hinting at later this week.
The deal for the shipment of grain will be valid for 120 days but will be renewed automatically. This is needed for uninterrupted shipment of food and fertilizers to the world market which has been suffering from soaring prices due to the Ukrainian war.
In the first phase, Ukraine is planning to ship around 25 million tons of wheat to the world markets. The country is one of the largest wheat producers and is in a process of harvesting new products. Many countries in Africa depend on Ukrainian and Russian wheat to escape the shortage of food. Russia says it can export up to 50 million tons of grain and fertilizers until the end of 2022.