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Turkiye President might hold face-to-face meeting with Putin on Black Sea grain deal

August 21, 2023 at 4:18 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the 14th Ambassadors Conference at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkiye on August 8, 2023 [Murat Kula – Anadolu Agency]

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said that next month, facing a busy schedule, if given the chance he might hold face-to-face talks with his Russian counterpart to discuss the Black Sea grain deal, Anadolu Agency reports.

“In September, there is the G-20 meeting in India and the UN General Assembly in the US. If we find the opportunity in this busy environment, we will meet and talk with (Vladimir) Putin face to face,” Erdogan told reporters late Sunday on the presidential plane while returning from a visit to Hungary.

Erdogan paid a one-day visit to the capital, Budapest, for St. Stephen’s Day, Hungary’s national day, and also the World Athletics Championships. He separately met with his Hungarian counterpart, Katalin Novak, and Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, to discuss bilateral ties, as well as regional and global developments.

Turkish Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, may visit Russia soon to hold face-to-face talks, Erdogan said, adding that this could yield better results.

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On possible Russia-Ukraine peace talks, Erdogan said he hopes to get results if both Putin and Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, agree on Turkish mediation.

Last month, Russia suspended its participation in the deal, which it signed last summer along with Turkiye, the UN and Ukraine to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports which were paused after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February 2022. Moscow has repeatedly complained that the Russian part of the agreement was not being implemented.

Ankara has been carrying out intense efforts and pushing diplomacy for the resumption of the deal.

Turkiye, internationally praised for its unique mediator role between Ukraine and Russia, has repeatedly called on Kyiv and Moscow to end the war, now over 500 days old, through negotiations.

About a container ship which set sail from Ukraine’s Odessa port last week and reached the Istanbul Strait, Erdogan said the vessel is not a grain ship, but a container ship.

“The (Turkish) National Defence Ministry has already made a statement on this. Our whole goal here is the positive attitude of Russia on the grain corridor issue, through our phone conversations with Putin,” he added.

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