Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his planned talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin could lead to the resumption of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, and called on Western countries to consider Russia’s demands, Turkish broadcasters reported on Friday.
“The termination of the grain agreement in the Black Sea will have a series of consequences, ranging from an increase in global food prices to scarcity (grains) in certain areas, and may lead to new waves of migration,” Erdogan told reporters during the return trip from a tour that included Gulf countries and northern Cyprus.
“I believe that by discussing the matter comprehensively with President Putin, we can ensure the continuation of this humanitarian effort,” Erdogan added, according to Reuters.
Russia this week withdrew from a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey that had allowed Ukrainian grain to be safely exported across the Black Sea for the past year. It also revoked guarantees of safe navigation and since then no ships have sailed from Ukrainian ports.
Moscow says it will not return to the agreement unless its demands are met to facilitate the access of its food and fertilizer exports to global markets. Western countries say Moscow has had no problem selling food commodities exempt from financial sanctions.
“We realize that President Putin also has certain expectations from Western countries, and it is very important that these countries take action in this regard,” Erdogan said.
Russia bombed food export facilities in Ukraine for the fourth consecutive day on Friday and conducted exercises to take control of ships in the Black Sea, in an escalation that Western leaders say is an attempt to get rid of sanctions by threatening to spark a global food crisis.
Erdogan repeated previous statements in which he said he hoped Putin would visit Turkey in August.