Amid soaring food prices, Turkiye has spoken with Russia about sending grain to several African countries free of charge, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday, Anadolu News Agency reports.
“The most important topic Mr. (President Vladimir) Putin brought up was sending this grain to African countries free of charge, to countries such as Mali, Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia,” Erdogan told Turkish journalists on the Indonesian island of Bali, where he just finished attending the G-20 Summit.
“We will also contribute to its free delivery,” Erdogan said he told Putin.
He also said that, during their own meeting in Bali, US President, Joe Biden, thanked him for Turkiye’s role in starting and continuing the landmark grain corridor deal.
On 22 July, Turkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which had been paused in February due to Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Days before its scheduled expiration, on Thursday the landmark Black Sea grain deal has been extended for another 120 days.
More than 10 million tons of grain have been exported from Ukraine since 1 August, according to the UN.
On recent US-Russian intelligence talks in Turkiye, the President said according to what he learned, neither side “will make attempts involving nuclear weapon,” addressing a major international concern.
“Of course, we want to keep them in close contact, let them meet frequently,” he added.
On proposed F-16 sales to Turkiye, Erdogan said that Biden told him that he is “sensitive on the issue of F-16 jet sales,” adding that Ankara will continue work on the issue.
‘Turkiye will not face energy problems’
Turkiye will not face energy problems, Erdogan said, adding that there are countries that say “we can support” Turkiye on energy.
“We will be in a much better position. And we can easily start exporting energy. In the meantime, there are countries that say to us, ‘We can support you in terms of energy as well’,” he said.
Many European nations have imposed energy conservation measures in preparation for possible shortages this winter.
On Turkiye’s relations with countries it has difficulties with, he said that Ankara can reconsider relations with them, adding there is “no eternal resentment” in politics.
“When the time comes, you sit down, evaluate it, and you can make a renewal accordingly. At the moment, Turkiye can reconsider relations with countries we have difficulties in these matters with,” he said. “Especially after the (general) election (next) June, we can make a fresh start.”
He also said that, in his meeting with new Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, on the sidelines of the G-20, Meloni expressed the will to solve problems on Turkiye’s possible acquisition of the SAMP/T air defence system project.
“There are some technical problems left, let’s solve them and solve the SAMP/T issue in France, Italy, Turkiye, in a short time,” Erdogan quoted Meloni as saying.