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Ankara works with Moscow to ship grain from Russian ports: Turkish president

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Ankara is working with Moscow on shipping grain from Russian ports, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday evening.

“The Razoni dry cargo ship passing through Istanbul was actually a first. Behind it, there are about 20 ships waiting in the ports. Above all, Russia is saying at the moment: ‘We have the preparation, we have the strength to leave the ports When will you mediate on this?’ Erdogan told reporters aboard the presidential plane after a day-long working visit to Russia.

“Our relevant ministries, mainly our Ministry of Commerce, are working quickly on this issue,” he said.

On Friday, Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met in the Russian coastal city of Sochi to discuss bilateral relations, regional and international issues.

The leaders stressed the need for “the full implementation of the Istanbul agreement, including the unhindered export of Russian grain, fertilizers and raw materials for their production”.

On July 22, Turkey, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul to reopen three Ukrainian ports for Ukrainian grain exports, blocked for months due to the Russian-Ukrainian war, which in is now in its sixth month.

Erdogan said Russia had 40 million tons of goods, adding that there were countries that were “spreading rumors as if Turkey had stopped the ships. There is no such thing.”

He added that all ships will pass through Türkiye before reaching their final destination.

“Unacceptable reviews”

On a question that Germany and France are targeting Turkey in defending Greece’s claims, Erdogan said Berlin and Paris have become an “instrument of Greek propaganda”.

“It is unacceptable to criticize our country with inaccurate assessments while tolerating Greece’s measures that do not respect international law. Turkey’s position for the stability and security of Europe is obvious. We have once further demonstrated this pioneering role in resolving the global grain crisis,” he added. .

Thanks to Türkiye’s diplomatic efforts to unblock Ukrainian grain exports, the first ship to leave Ukraine under the deal, the Sierra Leone-flagged freighter Razoni, left Odessa carrying more than 26,500 tons of maize, obtained a security clearance in Istanbul and is en route to the Lebanese port of Tripoli, its final destination.

Three other ships, carrying more than 58,000 tonnes of grain, left Ukrainian ports on Friday to reach their final destinations.

Erdogan said there would be no winner in the Russian-Ukrainian war, saying: “Despite the difficulties on the ground, I also maintain my firm belief that the crisis will be resolved at the negotiating table. I have reminded Putin once again that we can welcome his meeting with [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky.”

Turkey will continue dialogue to contribute to regional and global peace, he added.

Erdogan said he believed a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine is possible “if the parties really show sensitivity to the promises made”.

Turkey and Russia will work against terrorist groups in Syria

Erdogan said he discussed with Putin measures to be taken against terrorist organizations in Syria and agreed to take necessary measures to protect Syria’s territorial integrity.

“…we have agreed on the decision to provide the necessary response to our fight against these herds of assassins who have attacked our soldiers, our police, our security forces and our civilian citizens”, added Erdoğan.

He added that Putin maintains an even-handed approach towards Turkey, adding, “He specifically states that he will always be with us in the fight against terrorism.”

Erdogan said Putin told him: “If you prefer to solve these (problems) as much as possible with the (Syrian) regime, it will be much more precise.”

“We say that at present our intelligence organization is already dealing with these issues with the Syrian intelligence services, but the main thing is to achieve results. Although the intelligence services of Türkiye are working with the services of Syrian intelligence, terrorist groups are still there in Syria. You must support us in this matter. We also have an agreement on this issue,” he added.

Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful counter-terrorism operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terrorist corridor and allow the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch ( 2018) and Peace Spring (2019).

During its more than 35-year terrorist campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG are the Syrian branch of the PKK.

“No delay in the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project”

Regarding the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, a joint Turkish-Russian project, Erdogan said it had “particular importance” in Türkiye’s energy strategy, adding that the goal was to make the first reactor operational by 2023 .

The president denied rumors that the project had been delayed, saying, “There are claims like ‘25,000 people aren’t working right now or this place has been closed’. I don’t accept such a thing. , and neither is the Russian side. . They are working.”

Erdogan said he would visit Mersin province next week to inspect the project and update Putin on the progress.

Akkuyu has an operational date set for the first reactor by 2023, with the entire plant to be operational by 2025. The project began with a 2010 intergovernmental agreement between Turkey and Russia.

Turkey and Russia strengthen economic cooperation

During the talks in Sochi, Erdogan said he agreed with Putin to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the areas of economy and trade. The countries aim to increase bilateral trade volume to $100 billion.

He added that a memorandum of understanding regarding economic and trade relations between Turkey and Russia was signed in Sochi, adding: “We have agreed on the ruble with Putin.”

Erdogan said the currency trade will help both Turkey and Russia financially, adding, “There is also Russia’s Mir payment system. Currently, our five banks are continuing to work on this. Here, too, there are serious developments. of course, is a very comfortable process for tourists coming from Russia. They can shop and pay for their hotel with them.

Regarding the recent tension between Baku and Yerevan, Erdogan reiterated that Karabakh is located within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan.

“Azerbaijan naturally does not want any illegal armed elements on its territory,” he said.

According to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, it on Wednesday launched a retaliatory operation against Armenian forces in the Karabakh region after Armenia opened fire and killed an Azerbaijani soldier.

Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of violating the fall 2020 deal that ended the 44-day Karabakh war, with Azerbaijan dismissing the accusation as ‘nothing more than a simple hypocrisy”.

Regarding the attack on the Azerbaijani Embassy in London, Erdogan said it was “unacceptable”, adding, “We hope the incident will be investigated and the perpetrators punished.”

The embassy building in London was stormed by the Mahdi Servants Union, a Shia Muslim organization based in London, according to British media. Eight people were arrested after police arrived at the scene.

Turkey to attend SCO meeting in September

On heightened tensions between the US and China after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, Erdogan said: “It is very important that all parties act with common sense. and exercise restraint in order to reduce tension over Taiwan.”

Beijing launched massive military drills around Taiwan earlier this week after Pelosi’s visit to the self-governing island, thwarting Chinese warnings. China regards Taiwan as its “separatist province”. However, Taipei has insisted on its independence since 1949.

Erdogan announced that Türkiye will “hopefully” attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting to be held in Uzbekistan in September at Putin’s invitation.

Sources

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