Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, called for an extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, set to expire on July 17. Erdogan emphasized their efforts to prolong the agreement, stating, “We are making efforts to extend the duration of the Black Sea grain deal.” He highlighted that the initiative had already delivered around 33 million tonnes of grain to those in need.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative was established by the UN and Turkey, along with Russia and Ukraine, to provide a humanitarian maritime corridor for food and fertilizer exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports in July 2022 amidst the ongoing war. With the agreement’s expiration approaching, Erdogan underscored the importance of extending it, particularly to meet the urgent grain shipment needs of impoverished African countries.
Erdogan revealed that he is expected to discuss this matter face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is set to visit Turkey next month. The Turkish president expressed their intensive efforts to end the Russia-Ukraine war through negotiations based on international law.
President Zelensky echoed Erdogan’s sentiments, emphasizing the necessity of ensuring the Black Sea remains a safe area without “so-called frozen conflicts.” He stressed the importance of collaboration with partners to safeguard the grain corridor and the lives of people in other continents, stating, “It is very important that we start working with our partners to ensure that the existence of the grain corridor and, therefore, the lives of other people… do not depend on the mood in which the President of the Russian Federation wakes up.”
Ahead of the press conference, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, expressed interest in the negotiations and acknowledged the constructive and reciprocal relations between Russia and Turkey. He highlighted the significance of the discussions between Erdogan and Zelensky, stating, “It will be interesting for us to know what will be discussed… It is important.”