Erdogan, Putin discuss meeting in Turkey

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a telephone conversation on Aug. 2, discussing the grain deal and a possible meeting of the two leaders, the Kremlin announced on its website.

The Turkish Anadolu Agency said earlier on Aug. 2 that the leaders agreed to meet in Turkey, citing Erdogan’s press office.

Putin and Erdogan reportedly talked about the potential restoration of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. According to the Anadolu Agency, Erdogan emphasized the deal’s role in pushing down food prices, calling it a “bridge of peace.”

He also told the news agency that Turkey carries out intensive diplomatic efforts to restart the grain corridor.

According to the Kremlin’s press service, Putin said he is willing to restore the grain corridor once the West “fulfills all the obligations to Russia” regarding the deal. The dictator noted that Russia is working on ways to supplant Ukraine’s grain with its own products and voiced hope for Turkey’s cooperation in the plan.

Russia unilaterally terminated the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which previously allowed Ukraine to export its grain amid the ongoing Russian full-scale invasion, on July 17.

Putin justified the decision ahead of a July 27-28 summit with African leaders by saying the deal only served to enrich Western businesses and that promises about facilitating Russia’s grain and fertilizer exports had not been met.

Moscow’s decision caused spikes in wheat prices and fears about food security worldwide, especially in the Global South, strengthened by Russian attacks against Ukraine’s port infrastructure.

Turkey, positioning itself as a mediator between the belligerents of the Russo-Ukrainian War, played a crucial role in brokering the grain deal in July 2022. Since the agreement’s collapse, Ankara has been in contact both with Kyiv and Moscow, discussing the options for its restoration.

Read also: This Week in Ukraine Ep. 17 – Black Sea grain deal is dead. What can Ukraine do?

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