Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday thanked his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for his role in the signing of the agreement for the export of Ukrainian cereals and Russian food and fertilizers.
“With his direct participation and the mediation of the UN secretariat, the problem related to the supply of Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea ports has been resolved,” Putin said at the beginning of the two presidents’ meeting in Russia’s Sochi region.
“The supplies have already started. I want to thank you for that and because, at the same time, a joint solution was adopted on the supply of Russian food and fertilizers to the world market,” he added.
The Turkish president is visiting Russia to talk to Putin about the war in Ukraine and Turkey’s position on Syria.
Erdogan wants to assure Vladimir Putin that he intends to continue acting as a mediator for a lasting ceasefire in Ukraine.
His most recent mediation effort led to the signing, on 22 July, of an agreement to allow the resumption of cereal exports from three Ukrainian ports, coordinated from Istanbul and with the participation of Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and United Nations.
On Wednesday, the first ship to sail under this agreement, the freighter ‘Razoni’, loaded with maize bound for Lebanon, passed through the Bosphorus to be inspected by the joint team in Istanbul.
Vladimir Putin called the agreement “very important”, given the serious problems faced by many countries due to the interruption of cereal exports from Ukraine and Russia caused by the war.
According to Turkish authorities, another three ships will depart today from the Ukrainian ports of Odessa, Chornomosk and Pvidenny.
The Turkish president, in turn, alluded to the crisis in Europe’s energy supply from Russia and asked Putin to help more in the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey.
“Our delegations have already met and discussed almost everything, but today we are going to address the rest of the agenda face to face”, he underlined.
Erdogan traveled with a large delegation that includes the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Energy, Finance, Agriculture and Commerce.
For Putin, “European partners must be grateful to Turkey for ensuring the smooth transit of gas [russo] for the European market”.
The “Turkish Stream” pipeline, unlike all other routes of our hydrocarbon supply, works correctly, dynamically and flawlessly (…), so it has become one of the main arteries for the supply of Russian gas to Europe” , said.
At the bilateral level, Putin expressed confidence that the two sides can sign today a memorandum for the development of economic and trade cooperation.
“From Turkey’s point of view, Russia plays a special role on the world stage,” Erdogan said, adding that he hoped the meeting would “open a new page in Russian-Turkish relations.”
The Turkish president also spoke to Putin about Syria, where Ankara is threatening to launch a military operation against Kurdish groups he describes as “terrorist” but which Moscow opposes.
“Discussing the events in Syria on this occasion will help calm the region. Solidarity in the fight against terrorism is very important,” he said.
Russia is Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s main military support, while Turkey has supported Islamic militias that have opposed the regime since the start of the civil war in 2011.