UPDATE 2 - Turkish president might hold face-to-face meeting with Putin on Black Sea grain deal

UPDATE 2 - Turkish president might hold face-to-face meeting with Putin on Black Sea grain deal

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan may visit Russia soon to hold face-to-face talks, announces Recep Tayyip Erdogan

ADDS MORE REMARS OF TURKISH PRESIDENT, BACKGROUND

By Diyar Guldogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that next month, facing a busy schedule, if given the chance he might hold face-to-face talks with his Russian counterpart to discuss the Black Sea grain deal.

"In September, there is the G-20 meeting in India and the UN General Assembly in the US. If we find the opportunity in this busy environment, we will meet and talk with (Vladimir) Putin face to face," Erdogan told reporters late Sunday on the presidential plane while returning from a visit to Hungary.

Erdogan paid a one-day visit to the capital Budapest for St. Stephen’s Day, Hungary’s national day, and also the World Athletics Championships. He separately met with his Hungarian counterpart Katalin Novak and Prime Minister Viktor Orban to discuss bilateral ties, as well as regional and global developments.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan may visit Russia soon to hold face-to-face talks, Erdogan said, adding that this could yield better results.

On possible Russia-Ukraine peace talks, Erdogan said he hopes to get results if both Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy agree on Turkish mediation.

Last month, Russia suspended its participation in the deal, which it signed last summer along with Türkiye, the UN, and Ukraine to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports which were paused after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February 2022. Moscow has repeatedly complained that the Russian part of the agreement was not being implemented.

Ankara has been carrying out intense efforts and pushing diplomacy for the resumption of the deal.

Türkiye, internationally praised for its unique mediator role between Ukraine and Russia, has repeatedly called on Kyiv and Moscow to end the war, now over 500 days old, through negotiations.

About a container ship which set sail from Ukraine's Odesa port last week and reached the Istanbul Strait, Erdogan said the vessel is not a grain ship, but a container ship.

"The (Turkish) National Defense Ministry has already made a statement on this. Our whole goal here is the positive attitude of Russia on the grain corridor issue, through our phone conversations with Putin," he added.

The Hong Kong-flagged container ship Joseph Schulte was the first vessel to depart from Odesa since Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain initiative last month.

Last week ministry sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media, said Türkiye has stated its stance openly and clearly from the beginning, adding: "There is a grain corridor with proven success and usefulness."

Under the landmark deal, around 33 million tons of grain was shipped from Ukrainian ports, the sources said, adding: "Our efforts are entirely in the direction of reactivating this grain initiative."

There is no alternative to the Black Sea grain deal, they stressed.


- 'Military intervention in Niger not the right move'

On the unrest in Niger, Erdogan said that he hopes the "friendly and brotherly" country will achieve constitutional order and democratic administration as soon as possible.

On possible intervention by a local trade bloc, Erdogan said: "I do not find the decision of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) right to intervene militarily in Niger. Following this decision, Mali and Burkina Faso also warned that such a military intervention in Niger is a war against them.”

He added: "Military intervention in Niger would mean spreading instability to many African countries.”

Last month, Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, the former commander of Niger's presidential guard, declared himself the head of a transitional government after President Mohamed Bazoum was ousted by a military intervention on July 26.

A delegation from ECOWAS met Bazoum in Niger’s capital Niamey on Saturday, in a new diplomatic push to tackle the crisis.

Last week, the West African bloc decided to activate its standby force for a possible military intervention to restore constitutional order in Niger.

Tchiani, meanwhile, said a transition of power would not go beyond three years, and warned that any attack on the country would not be easy for those involved.

Türkiye will continue to stand by Niger, Erdogan said, adding: "I believe that the people of Niger will take care of democracy and go to the elections as soon as possible."

He also said he hoped social peace and stability will be restored in Niger as soon as possible, adding that Ankara is focusing on how it can play a key role in the country.


- Sweden's NATO bid

Sweden's possible accession to NATO is at the discretion of the Turkish parliament, Erdogan reiterated, adding that Stockholm needs to keep its promises.

At a July NATO summit in Lithuania, Erdogan agreed to forward to the Turkish parliament Sweden's bid to join NATO for a ratification vote. As parliament is currently on summer recess, it will take up the legislation this fall. All current members of NATO have to agree to any new additions.

Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership shortly after Russia launched its war on Ukraine in February 2022.

Although Türkiye approved Finland's NATO membership, it is waiting for Sweden to fulfill its commitments not to provide shelter to terrorists or supporters of terrorists and not to facilitate their actions.

"First of all, Sweden needs to protect the streets of Stockholm.They should take no offense if Sweden continues to not do something about what's happening in the streets of Stockholm and attacks on our sacred values continue to take place," Erdogan said.

Islamophobic figures and groups in Northern Europe in recent months have repeatedly carried out Quran burnings and similar attempts to desecrate the Muslim holy book, drawing outrage from Muslim countries and the world.

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