Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin may discuss a new formula for the now-defunct Black Sea grain deal at planned bilateral talks, APA reports citing TASS.
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan will try to map out this formula, the Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper said. Fidan visited Ukraine last week and should soon arrive for negotiations in Moscow.
While in Kyiv, the Turkish foreign minister listened to Ukrainian officials who, the newspaper said, are reluctant to return to the previous deal but are not opposed to new agreements. Fidan is now set to hear out Russian officials in Moscow. Ankara will negotiate options with the United Nations before developing a new formula that "may be discussed by Erdogan and Putin."
According to Hurriyet, Turkiye is concerned over the growing risk of tensions in the Black Sea should Russia start inspecting vessels carrying food via the formerly approved routes under the now-defunct grain deal. This, the newspaper argues, may exacerbate the situation, lead to conflicts and affect global grain prices. It is for this reason that Ankara "is looking for a new grain deal formula," Hurriyet explained.
However, the newspaper added, Turkiye rather dislikes the idea of sending cargos from Ukraine to the Bosporus Strait through inland waters, a route that Kiev is interested in pursuing. Ankara "does not approve of any deal being implemented without Russia and has been seeking to find a compromise between Russia and Ukraine," Hurriyet said.
Implementation of the initial Black Sea grain deal, concluded in July 2022 in Istanbul as a set of agreements to ensure a secure maritime corridor for ships carrying Ukrainian grain to world markets as well as for exports of Russian agricultural products, was terminated on July 17 at Moscow’s initiative. Putin previously noted that the Russia-specific provisions of the deal were never implemented, despite the efforts on the part of the UN, because Western countries never intended to uphold their pledges to unblock Russian exports. The Russian leader also repeatedly pointed out that the bulk of Ukrainian grain exported via the deal corridors ended up going to wealthy countries, despite the deal’s original intent to supply grain to the neediest countries, particularly in Africa.