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No alternative to Black Sea Grain Initiative: Turkish official

August 28, 2023 at 3:40 pm

Akif Cagatay Kilic, the chief adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkiye on August 24, 2023 [Ömer Taha Çetin/Anadolu Agency]

There is no alternative to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief adviser Akif Cagatay Kilic said on Monday.

Stressing the importance of the revival of the Black Sea grain deal, Kilic said: “That’s our priority. Therefore, we are not considering any other alternative or other way at the moment. We doubt that this deal could survive without Russia.”

Türkiye continues its efforts to resume the grain corridor again, Kilic told Turkish news channel NTV.

On July 17, Russia suspended its participation in the Black Sea grain deal, brokered by Türkiye and the UN to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports that were paused after the Ukraine war in February 2022.

Moscow has repeatedly complained that the West has not met its obligations regarding Russia’s own grain exports. It says restrictions on payments, logistics, and insurance have been a barrier to its shipments.

Ankara has been carrying out intense efforts for the restoration of the July 2022 deal and has also called on Kyiv and Moscow to end the war through negotiations.

Türkiye is providing an environment of trust for both parties to engage in talks, Kilic said.

About the upcoming meeting between Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, he said the date has not yet been set.

“The first priority is to ensure that Erdogan comes face to face with Putin as soon as possible,” Kilic added.

READ: Ukraine, Turkiye foreign minister says Black Sea deal must be renewed