Talks between Türkiye, Russia, Ukraine and UN continue before deal expires on July 17, says ministry official speaking on background
Türkiye is working to ensure continuation of last year’s landmark Black Sea grain deal, currently set to expire in 11 days, the country’s National Defense Ministry said.
“Our contacts with officials from the UN, Russia, and Ukraine regarding extension of the grain initiative, which is set to expire on July 17, continue in coordination with the Turkish Foreign Ministry,” a National Defense Ministry official told reporters at a background briefing in the capital Ankara.
The official added that under the historic deal, to date more than 32 million tons of grain have been transported to people in need.
“Our country will continue to do its part by continuing its constructive initiatives for regional peace and humanitarian aid, especially for re-extension of the grain agreement,” the official said, referring to several previous extensions of the deal pushed heavily by Ankara, one of its chief architects.
A year ago Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports which had been paused after the Russia-Ukraine war began that February. A Joint Coordination Center with officials from the three countries and the UN was set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments.
The first ship carrying grain under the historic deal departed last August from the Ukrainian port of Odesa.
Türkiye, internationally praised for its unique mediator role between Ukraine and Russia, has repeatedly called on Kyiv and Moscow to end the war through negotiations.
Russian officials have strongly hinted that this month they could block extension of the grain deal, complaining that parts of the deal to allow Russian exports have gone unfulfilled.
Fight against terrorism
Turning to the nation’s counter-terrorism efforts, the official also said Türkiye has carried out 320 operations and “neutralized” a total of 794 terrorists since Jan. 1.
“Our army is fighting with great devotion to contribute to the peace and security of our country and the peace and stability of our region, the world and all humanity against all terrorist organizations,” said the official, citing in particular the YPG/PKK, Daesh/ISIS, and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).
All of Türkiye’s operations against the terrorist threat are carried out in line with international law, respecting the borders and territorial integrity of all its neighbors, especially Iraq, within the scope of the right of self-defense and targeting only terrorist elements in the region, the official stressed, referring to operations targeting terrorist hideouts over the border
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is its Syrian offshoot.
In the defeated 2016 coup in Türkiye orchestrated by FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen, 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.