Turkey is coordinating closely with Russia and Ukraine to agree a plan that would re-start grain exports from Ukrainian ports even as conflict rages elsewhere in the country. Turkey, which has been conducting multilateral diplomacy for peace since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, stepped in to solve the global food supply problem caused by the war. According to the information obtained from diplomatic sources, Turkey has been conducting diplomatic traffic for a while to establish a mechanism to ensure that the grain stocks in Ukraine reach the global markets safely.
The "grain corridor" was also on the agenda during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. In his meeting with President Erdogan, Putin noted that Russia is willing to facilitate unhindered cargo shipments in coordination with Turkey, including grain shipments from Ukrainian ports.
In his meeting with Zelenskiy, President Erdoğan stated that he attaches particular importance to the project of establishing a safe corridor for the export of Ukrainian agricultural products by sea.
Erdogan expressed that he is viewed positively to join the Control Center, which will consist of United Nations officials, and to host the center in Istanbul. According to diplomatic sources, Putin and Zelenskiy also view the cooperation on the "grain corridor" positively.
Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said the four sides are working out how mines floating off the port of Odesa and elsewhere along Ukraine's coast will be cleared and who will do it, and who would safeguard the corridor. "We are making efforts to conclude this as soon as possible," he told reporters in embargoed remarks after a cabinet meeting late on Monday. A lot of progress has been made on this issue" and technical planning continues, he said.
DETAILS WILL BE DISCUSSED IN ISTANBUL
As a result of Turkey's negotiations with Russia, Ukraine and UN officials, a road map was prepared under the umbrella of the UN regarding the operation of the grain corridor. It is expected that all parties will meet in Istanbul in the coming days to discuss the details of the road map.
Issues such as the route, insurance, security of the ships, especially the cleaning of sea mines in the region, and the officers to be in the command center will be evaluated at the four-way meeting.
With the mechanism that Ukraine and Russia approach positively, mines will be cleared around the ports in the Black Sea, and the grain stock will reach foreign markets safely.
It is planned to present 20 million tons of grain from Ukraine and Russia to the global markets through the center planned to be established in Istanbul under the coordination of the UN, through Turkey's mediation between Russia and Ukraine.
The Russian media wrote that the Moscow administration has agreed to open a corridor for grain shipments with Kyiv and Ankara. It is expected that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will discuss the details of the issue with the Turkish side during his visit to Ankara on Wednesday and the parties will officially approve the shipment plan.