Turkey's Erdogan echoes Putin's gripes over grain exports

The July grain deal aimed to avert a global food crisis by guaranteeing the safe passage of ships in and out of Ukrainian ports, allowing them to export tens of millions of tonnes of grain.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Tayyip ErdoganFile photo

TURKEY: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he wanted grain from Russia to be exported too, adding Vladimir Putin was right to complain that grain from Ukraine under a U.N.-backed deal was going to wealthy rather than poor countries.

The July grain deal aimed to avert a global food crisis by guaranteeing the safe passage of ships in and out of Ukrainian ports, allowing them to export tens of millions of tonnes of grain. The deal also facilitates Russian exports. "The fact that grain shipments are going to the countries that implement these sanctions (against Moscow) are disturbing Mr. Putin. We also want grain shipments to start from Russia," Erdogan said at a news conference with his Croatian counterpart.

"The grain that comes as part of this grain deal unfortunately goes to rich countries, not to poor countries," Erdogan said. On Wednesday, Russia's President Putin floated adding limits to Ukrainian grain exports.

U.N. and Russian officials met in Geneva Wednesday to discuss Russian complaints that Western sanctions were impeding its grain and fertilizer exports despite the deal, which was signed by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations. Ismini Palla, U.N. spokesperson for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, said a drop in global wheat prices in August was partly due to exports resuming from Ukraine, and ensuring food and fertilizer supplies was critical to maintain this trend.

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