Türkiye wants Black Sea grain deal to continue in its original form: Sources

Türkiye wants Black Sea grain deal to continue in its original form: Sources

No new ship arriving from Ukraine after suspension of Black Sea grain deal, Turkish security sources say

By Sarp Ozer

ANKARA (AA) - Türkiye wants the Black Sea grain deal to continue in its original form as a four-way agreement, Turkish security sources said on Thursday.

Earlier this month, Russia pulled out of the Türkiye- and UN-brokered deal to export Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea, triggering concerns once again of a potential food crisis.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media, said: "There is no new ship arriving from Ukraine after the suspension of the initiative. However, there are ships that had applied to go to Ukraine before the initiative was halted."

The sources also reiterated their determination to ensure the sufficient staffing and operational continuity of the Joint Coordination Center established in Istanbul to ensure the safe passage of the ships under the deal.

"The situation of these ships will be evaluated within the scope of the ongoing efforts to continue the initiative," the sources added.

On the Turkish ships waiting in Ukrainian ports, the sources said: "We are in coordination with the Turkish Trade Ministry and relevant stakeholders, both in Ukraine and Russia, to ensure the safe return of our commercial ships with Turkish flag, owner, or company to Türkiye.

"The safest and most secure time is being monitored. When the conditions are favorable, our ships will be safely brought to Türkiye."

- Meeting with Greece on confidence-building measures

Regarding the agreement reached during the meeting between Turkish National Defense Minister Yasar Guler and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias to hold meetings on confidence-building measures, the sources said that work on the timetable is ongoing.

Asked if Greece was adhering to the 1988 agreement to avoid military exercises between June 15 and Sept. 15 as well as national and religious holidays, the sources said both sides are complying with the terms.

- Syria and Iraq

In a separate development, a National Defense Ministry official told reporters at a background briefing in the capital Ankara that 892 terrorists have been neutralized in northern Iraq and Syria since the beginning of this year.

"From July 24, 2015, until today, 38,235 terrorists have been neutralized," the official added.

A total of 193 individuals who attempted to cross the borders illegally were apprehended last week.

Among these individuals, 20 are terrorists and 2,900 individuals were prevented from crossing the border, the official added.

On illegal crossings into Türkiye, since Jan. 1 a total of 4,258 people who tried to cross Türkiye's borders illegally were caught, including 326 terrorists, the official said.

A total of 128,812 people were blocked before they crossed the border.

*Writing by Muhammed Enes Calli in Istanbul

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