Erdogan says he believes Ukraine grain exports will continue

NUSA DUA – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday he believed a deal allowing Ukraine to export grain through the Black Sea that is set to expire Saturday would remain in place.

“I am of the opinion that it will continue. There’s no problem there,” Erdogan told a press conference at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Ukraine is one of the world’s top grain producers, and Russia’s invasion of the country blocked 20 million tonnes of grain in its ports before the United Nations and Turkey brokered the deal in July.

Erdogan said he would speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin as soon as he returned to Turkey.

“Because the path to peace passes through dialogue,” he said.

A separate agreement brokered by the UN and Turkey also signed in July allows the export of Russian food and fertilisers despite Western sanctions imposed on Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine.

Erdogan said the export of fertilisers and ammonia “is important.”

“The work is going on. We will discuss this with Putin,” he added.

Erdogan also responded to a question about a missile hitting Polish territory near the border with Ukraine. 

Russia’s denial that it was involved was “important”, said Erdogan. 

“I have to respect the statement made by Russia … There maybe was a technical malfunction or something else. It’s essential that an investigation is launched,” he added.

Insisting on pointing the finger at Russia would be “provocation,” said Erdogan.

“There’s no need to find a third party in this war. We all need peace.”

US President Joe Biden said earlier it was “unlikely” the missile had been fired from Russia.  – AFP