Turkish President Erdogan says he believes ‘good result’ on revival of Black Sea grain deal will be reached soon

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he believes a “good result” on revival of the Black Sea grain deal that will meet necessary expectations will shortly be reached.

“Revitalization of the initiative is a priority for the whole world. We are in close contact with the UN on this issue,” Erdogan told reporters late Monday on the presidential plane while returning from a visit to Russia.

Erdogan said he will discuss the issue with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York later this month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

“I would like to reiterate that we appreciate and support the efforts of Guterres, the secretary-general,” he added.

Erdogan on Monday paid one-day working visit to Russia’s coastal city of Sochi to discuss with President Vladimir Putin regional and global issues as well as bilateral ties. The revival of last year’s historic Black Sea grain deal that helped ease the global food crisis was a top issue at the meeting.

Türkiye says that the deal should be resumed by addressing a number of deficiencies that have been identified, and that there is no alternative to the initiative as other proposals have failed to offer a “sustainable, secure and lasting” model based on cooperation between the parties.

This July, Moscow suspended its participation in the deal, brokered by Türkiye and the UN, to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports that were paused after the Ukraine-Russia war, which started in February 2022.

Moscow has complained that the West failed to meet its obligations on Russia’s own grain exports, and that not enough Ukrainian grain was going to countries in need. It says restrictions on payments, logistics, and insurance have stood in the way of its shipments.

New package, Russian expectations

“As a result of our contributions, the UN has prepared a new package that will pave the way for revitalization of the initiative. During his visit to Moscow, (Turkish) Foreign Minister (Hakan Fidan) discussed the technical aspect of this new package of proposals with his Russian counterpart (Sergey) Lavrov,” Erdogan also said.

“I also discussed the issue in detail with Putin today. I also believe that we will reach a good result that will meet the expectations in a short time.”

Erdogan said Russia has two demands.

“First, the inclusion of the Russian agricultural bank in the SWIFT (international banking) system. Currently, Russian banks are out of the SWIFT system due to sanctions.

“Secondly, the ships used for transportation need to be insured. Ships must be insured in order to transport goods to European or other ports,” the president said, pointing to a lack of insurance for the ships.

On Aug. 28, Erdogan said Guterres proposed not returning to SWIFT as the Russians have sought, but instead an intermediary mechanism that is similar to SWIFT.

Erdogan also expressed hope that the Russia-Ukraine war will end with a “just and lasting” peace on the basis of international law, reiterating that Ankara is ready to do its part.

Türkiye, internationally praised for its unique mediator role between Ukraine and Russia, has repeatedly urged Kyiv and Moscow to end the war through talks.