Bharat Express

Tayyip Erdogan To Host Vladimir Putin In August

Erdogan stated that work was being done to prolong the Black Sea grain contract beyond its current expiration date of July 17

Tayyip Erdogan with Vladimir Putin

Tayyip Erdogan with Vladimir Putin

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that he was encouraging Russia to prolong a Black Sea grain deal for at least three months and that President Vladimir Putin would visit Turkey in August.

He was addressing at a joint news conference with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy following a meeting to assess the fate of an agreement reached last year by Turkey and the UN to enable the safe delivery of grain from Ukrainian ports across the Black Sea despite the war.

Zelenskiy’s visit came after visits to Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia as part of a tour of NATO capitals aimed at persuading countries to take meaningful steps towards awarding Kyiv membership in the alliance at a summit next week.

Erdogan stated that work was being done to prolong the Black Sea grain contract beyond its current expiration date of July 17 and for further durations after that. The agreement will be one of the most important subjects on his agenda for his meeting with Putin next month in Turkey, he said.

“Our hope is that it will be extended at least once every three months, rather than every two months. We will make an effort in this regard and try to extend it to two years”, he stated during a press conference alongside Zelenskiy.

Both individuals stated that they had also discussed another critical issue for Erdogan’s meetings with Putin: prisoner exchanges, which Zelenskiy stated was the first thing on their agenda.

“I am hopeful that we will get a result from this soon”, Erdogan remarked.

Zelenskiy said he would wait for the outcome before commenting, but that the debate had gone into specifics about returning all hostages, including children transported to Russia and other groups.

“We are working on the return of our captives, political prisoners, and Crimean Tatars”, he said, referring to members of Ukraine’s Muslim community in the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.

“Our partners have all of the lists. We are working hard on this”, he continued.

Erdogan stated that the issue could also come up in his contacts with Putin before his visit.

“If we make some phone calls before that, we will discuss it on the call as well”, he added.

The Kremlin said on Friday that it will closely monitor the Erdogan-Zelenskiy discussions, adding that Putin has praised Erdogan’s attempts to broker a resolution to the Ukrainian conflict.

When asked on Saturday whether Putin would visit Turkey in August, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, “Contacts are possible. There are no set dates”.

Russia, enraged by portions of the grain deal’s implementation, has vowed not to extend it beyond July 17.

Turkey, a NATO member, has managed to maintain good relations with both Russia and Ukraine over the previous 16 months of the war, and it assisted in arranging prisoner swaps last year.