‘Whole world’ watching talks with Putin – Erdogan

The leaders of Russia and Türkiye are meeting in Sochi to discuss bilateral ties and international issues

The world is awaiting the outcome of top-level negotiations between Moscow and Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said ahead of his meeting on Monday with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

Addressing Putin before talks in the Russian resort city of Sochi, Erdogan said the inclusion of the so-called Black Sea grain deal as part of the agenda meant that there was intense global attention on the meeting. 

“They are waiting for the outcome. I believe that the statement that will be made during our press conference on the results of our discussions will be a step towards the world, especially the developing African nations,” the Turkish leader stated.

Putin stressed in his welcome speech that Russian-Turkish relations are strong and continue to improve. He also outlined plans for future cooperation, including the creation of a hub in Türkiye for the re-export of Russian natural gas, as well as the Russian construction of a nuclear power plant for Türkiye.

“Next year, if all goes according to plan, we will launch the first reactor block. There are interesting possible variants for continuing our cooperation here,” Putin said.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative was a Türkiye-mediated arrangement that allowed Ukraine to export its grain under safety guarantees provided by Russia.

However, Moscow withdrew from the deal in July, one year after it was initially sealed. Russia accused the UN, which had also helped mediate the scheme, of failing to deliver on its promises to facilitate the export of Russian food and fertilizers. Moscow argued that Russian shipments had faced issues due to Western economic sanctions, despite claims by the US and its allies that this would not be the case.

Moscow has maintained that private companies are reluctant to service Russian ships, fearing US retribution, while Russian exporters have endured payment problems after being cut off from the SWIFT international banking system.

Discussions over possible ways to revive the grain deal are among the main goals for Erdogan during his visit to Russia, according to Turkish media. Moscow has suggested it is willing to allow Ukrainian exports as soon as Russia is granted what it was promised last year.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that the initial round of Russian-Turkish negotiations, which involved senior officials and lasted about 90 minutes, had been constructive. He added that no agreements were expected to be signed after the talks.

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