Turkiye has said that it is working with Ukraine and Russia to provide a safe shipping corridor to enable the continued export of wheat and grain to the world, as a global food crisis looms.
Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting yesterday, Turkish Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, stated that Ankara, Kyiv, Moscow and the United Nations are discussing ways to clear mines floating off the Ukrainian port of Odessa and elsewhere along the Ukrainian coastline.
A number of other issues that are being discussed include who will clear the mines, and who would safeguard a safe shipping corridor in the case of an agreement being made by the four signatories.
As for Turkiye's role in the plan, it is reportedly prepared to play a leading part in an "observation mechanism", which may involve the Turkish navy escorting tankers leaving Ukraine and heading toward the Bosphorus Straits toward the international market.
"We are making efforts to conclude this as soon as possible", Akar stated, assuring that "a lot of progress has been made on this issue". Meanwhile, technical planning continues to take place, with Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, set to host his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, for talks on the plan tomorrow.
Since the launch of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing conflict in the latter's territory, exports of essential supplies such as grains and wheat across the world have been hit hard, especially due to the fact that both Russia and Ukraine produce and export around 30 per cent of the world's wheat supply.
In light of the looming global food crisis and the crippling shortages predicted to be seen throughout the world later this year, Turkiye's attempts to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv have taken a new form in the facilitation of the potential safe shipping corridor to revive exports of the essentials from Ukrainian ports.
If the Black Sea ports remain blocked and besieged by Russia, Ukraine will only be able to export a maximum of 2 million tons of grain per month, Ukrainian deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food, Taras Vysotskyi, announced today.