The public agenda of Türkiye has been busy with three main topics last week.
First was the telephone conversation between the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Second was the summit held in Istanbul between military delegations of Russia, Türkiye and Ukraine and UN representatives, on a possible grain corridor.
Third was the trilateral meeting that will be held between the leaders of Iran, Russia and Türkiye in Tehran on July 19th.
Phone conversation between Presidents of Türkiye and Russia
Last Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, by phone.
Türkiye’s President reiterated Ankara’s willingness to keep doing its part for lasting peace with Ukraine, and urged an Istanbul meeting between Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The call mostly addressed the current situation in Syria, the Russo-Ukrainian War and the formation of possible secure corridors via the Black Sea for grain export.
President Erdogan underlined that he attached great importance to the continuation of the cross-border mechanism in Northern Syria.
President Erdogan also noted that it was time for the United Nations to take action for the plan regarding the formation of secure corridors via the Black Sea for the grain export.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Putin that continuing the positive momentum achieved in last month’s Istanbul talks towards peace between Russia and Ukraine would benefit all sides, according to a statement by Türkiye’s Communications Directorate.
Erdogan stressed the importance of ensuring a cease-fire, operating humanitarian corridors, and safely carrying out evacuations, the statement said.
Talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Istanbul on March 29th were seen as a breakthrough in the push to halt the conflict that began on February 24th.
After the meeting, a Ukrainian negotiator said Kyiv wants Türkiye among the countries that will be guarantors in any deal with Moscow.
On March, Türkiye also brought together the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers in its southern resort city of Antalya, the first meeting of senior government officials from the two sides since the start of the war.
Summit in Istanbul on a possible grain corridor
Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish military delegations met the UN officials on Wednesday, in an effort to break a months long impasse over stalled grain deliveries to world markets through the Black Sea, which has seen food prices soar, while millions face hunger over next months.
The summit in Istanbul marks the Russian and Ukrainian governments’ first face-to-face talks since another meeting in the Turkish metropolis in late March.
Türkiye has been working with the United Nations to broker a deal after the operation began, which has fuelled prices for grains, cooking oils, fossil fuels and fertilizers.
Ankara has offered to provide safe Black Sea corridors and has held talks with the UN, Russia and Ukraine to reach an agreement. The UN would establish a center in Istanbul to control the shipments, Turkish officials have claimed.
“We are working hard indeed but there is still a way to go,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters on Tuesday. “Many people are talking about it. We prefer to try and do it.”
Diplomats said details of the plan under discussion were to include Ukrainian vessels guiding grain ships in and out through mined port waters; Russia agreeing to a truce while shipments move; and Türkiye inspecting ships to allay Russian fears of weapons smuggling, supported by the United Nations delegations.
The summit in Istanbul is the run-up to talks between the Turkish and Russian military delegations, which took place in Moscow last month to discuss the sea route and the safe departure of vessels at Ukrainian ports.
Russia and Ukraine seem to have made progress but are sticking to firm demands that could collapse the talks.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said a deal to resume grain exports appeared very close, but he made clear that broader peace talks were frozen.
“We are ready to export grain to the international market… We are two steps away from a deal with Russia,” Kuleba told Spanish newspaper El Pais before the talks in Istanbul.
“The security concerns, linked to Russia’s position, need to be addressed. We are in the final phase and now everything depends on Russia,” he said.
Kuleba separately told the Associated Press (AP) that exports would not resume without security guarantees for ship owners, cargo owners and Ukraine as an independent nation.
He stressed any agreement needs to ensure Russia “will respect these corridors, they will not sneak into the harbor and attack ports or that they will not attack ports from the air with their missiles.”
Asked why Moscow might be ready now to agree to a deal, Kuleba said he thought Russia wanted “to show the countries of Africa and Asia that they want to save them from food shortages.” But he said Russia could still drag out talks.
Trilateral summit between Türkiye-Russia and Iran in Tehran
Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to Iran’s capital, Tehran, to take part in a trilateral meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Kremlin spokesman said.
The visit on July 19th, will also include a separate bilateral meeting between Putin and Erdogan, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said in a press release in Moscow on Tuesday.
“The president’s trip to Tehran is being prepared. There will be a meeting of the heads of the guarantor states of the Astana process. In addition to the trilateral meeting, bilateral meetings will also take place.”
“Yesterday we informed about the upcoming high-level contacts between Putin and Erdogan, this meeting will also be held there,” he said.
Türkiye’s Communications Directorate had earlier said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would visit Iran on July 19.
Asked about a possibility of the resumption of Russia-Ukraine peace talks, Peskov said: “No, this is out of the question now.”
The Russian leader’s visit to Tehran will be his second foreign trip since the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War on February 24th.
The three countries have held 18 rounds of meetings so far, initially in the Kazakh capital of Astana. The last triple summit was held in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan (former Astana) in mid-June.
Participants at the 18th international summit on Syria in the Astana format have reiterated their strong commitment to Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and announced their firm opposition to Israeli’s aggression and atrocities in the war-torn country.
Putin’s visit to Iran will follow US President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia this week. Iranian air defense might as well as its advanced missile and drone capabilities will be reportedly among the top issues of discussion on the agenda of Biden’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia and the Israeli regime.
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