Erdoğan voices Putin’s concern over ‘selective’ grain exports

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday backed his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over his complaint that grain from Ukraine under a U.N.-backed deal was going to wealthy rather than poor countries, saying that Russia too should begin grain exports.

In July, Ukraine and Russia reached an agreement to allow exports of grain and other agricultural products to resume from selected Ukraine Black Sea ports after a Russian blockade that begin after its invasion of Ukraine in February. The Turkey and U.N.-brokered deal arrived as approximately 20 million metric tons of grains and oilseeds harvested in 2021 remained in storage, unable to ship due to the blockade and also facilitates Russian exports.

“The fact that grain shipments are going to the countries that implement these sanctions (against Moscow) disturbs Mr. Putin. We also want grain shipments to start from Russia,” Bloomberg Turkey cited Erdoğan as saying at a news conference with his Croatian counterpart.

“The grain that comes as part of this grain deal unfortunately goes to rich countries, not to poor countries,” the Turkish leader added.

Putin on Wednesday suggested limiting the grain deal, citing the delivery of grain, other food and fertilizer to the European Union and Turkey, as opposed to poor countries.

The Russian president said that Moscow and the developing world had been “cheated” by the deal and said he would look to revise its terms to limit the countries that can receive shipments, Reuters reported. 

Some 30 percent of cargo since the deal was struck has gone to low and lower-middle income countries, according to the Istanbul-based coordination group on shipments, whose four signatories are Ukraine, the Russian Federation, Turkey and the U.N.

Turkey, a maritime neighbour to Russia and Ukraine, maintains good ties with both countries and has stepped up as mediator since the beginning of the war in February. Ankara has criticized the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sold drones to Kyiv despite Russian objectives. But Ankara also opposes Western sanctions against Moscow and has stopped short of accusing either country over the conflict.

This block is broken or missing. You may be missing content or you might need to enable the original module.