Senior officials from Turkey and Ukraine have discussed the continuation of the grain deal that will allow the export of the latter’s wheat and other products to the world market for another four months.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Olexander Kubrakov met in Istanbul late on Oct. 16 and paid a visit to the Joint Coordination Center that controls the implementation of the grain deal through the Black Sea and the Turkish Straits.
“Some 345 ships have carried 7.7 million tons of wheat from the Ukrainian ports in the past three months. This is a very satisfactory result,” Akar told reports following the visit. Türkiye and the U.N. initiated separate agreements with Russia and Ukraine on July 22 for the resumption of grain export from the two warring sides to avoid a major global food crisis. The agreement will expire on Nov. 22 but can be extended if the two sides do not reject it.
The Ukrainian minister thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Akar for their role in making this agreement possible, saying, “The total amount of grain export is almost 8 million tons. We believe that this initiative should continue. We also see the link between the grain prices and this initiative.”
The deal does also stipulate the resumption of exports from Russia, but due to technical reasons, no shipment from the Russian ports could be possible. Ankara and Moscow are seeking ways to let it start as Russian consent is needed for the extension of the deal.
Akar, for his part, described the joint work by officials from Türkiye, the U.N., Russia and Ukraine in the coordination center as both historic and humanitarian. “We know that grain prices significantly decreased after the start of export. The two sides came together thanks to this initiative. Our wish is that this initiative will set a model for the resolution of other problems between the two countries,” he stated.
Türkiye is always in favor of the protection of stability and peace and respectful of the territorial integrity of its neighbors, Akar said, adding, “We continue the same policy in the most transparent way.”
He reiterated that Ankara will continue its initiatives for ceasefire and peace between Russia and Ukraine in line with Erdoğan’s instruction.
The Turkish government will act in a balanced way that resulted in the establishment of the grain corridor and exchange of prisoners between the two countries, Akar said. “Our objective is to continue working to resolve this problem by peaceful means and methods as soon as possible, to reduce tension and to deliver humanitarian aid to those in need without causing any disruption.”
Türkiye has been mediating between Russia and Ukraine before and after the war broke out on Feb. 24 and convened the two sides’ foreign ministers and senior negotiators in Antalya and Istanbul, respectively. Erdoğan proposed to convene Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in Türkiye under his mediation, but the escalation in the war prevented it.