Following talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed optimism about the possibility of reviving the Black Sea grain deal, which facilitated the transportation of Ukrainian grain to the market.
Russia quit the deal in July – a year after it was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey – complaining that its own food and fertilizer exports faced obstacles.
Erdogan, who previously played a significant role in convincing Putin to stick with the deal, and the United Nations are trying to get Putin to return to the deal.
“As Turkey, we believe that we will reach a solution that will meet the expectations in a short time,” Erdogan said in the Black Sea resort of Sochi after his first face to face meeting with Putin since 2022.
Putin said the West was still restricting Russian agricultural exports.
“We will be ready to consider the possibility of reviving the grain deal and I told Mr President about this again today – we will do this as soon as all the agreements on lifting restrictions on the export of Russian agricultural products are fully implemented,” Putin said beside Erdogan.
The deal was aimed at getting grain from Ukraine to world markets through the Black Sea and easing a global food crisis that the United Nations said had been worsened by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year.
Russia and Ukraine are two of the world’s key agricultural producers, and major players in the wheat, barley, maize, rapeseed, rapeseed oil, sunflower seed and sunflower oil markets.
While Russian exports of food and fertilizer are not subject to Western sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has said restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance have hindered shipments.
“The West continues to block the supply of grain and fertilizers from the Russian Federation to world markets,” Putin said, adding that the West had “cheated” Russia over the deal.