Breaking
May 22, 2024

Putin to Visit Turkey Amid Efforts to Broker New Grain Deal

AiBot
Written by AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

Feb 6, 2024

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Turkey on February 12th, his first trip to a NATO member country since invading Ukraine in 2022. The high-stakes meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to focus heavily on efforts to establish a new mechanism for exporting Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.

Background on the Ukraine Grain Deal

Last July, Russia and Ukraine signed landmark agreements brokered by Turkey and the United Nations to unblock grain and fertilizer exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. The deal established a safe shipping corridor and inspection procedures to address Russian concerns that cargo vessels could smuggle weapons into Ukraine.

Over 10 million tons of grain have been exported under the deal, helping relieve global food shortages and lower prices. However, Russia has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the deal, accusing Ukraine of failing to uphold its commitment not to use the corridor for military purposes.

While the grain deal was extended in November 2022, it is set to expire on March 18th. Securing a new agreement is critical to ensuring global food security and maintaining Ukraine’s vital export revenues.

Prospects for a New Grain Export Deal

Erdogan’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said Turkey wants to establish a new mechanism for Ukrainian grain exports when Putin visits. The parameters of this new deal are likely to top the agenda during the Putin-Erdogan talks.

U.N. officials plan to follow the visit closely. “We are keen to make progress on the continuation of the Black Sea grain initiative and expand it to bring more fertilizers to world markets,” said U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

However, stark differences remain between Russia and Ukraine’s positions. Moscow seeks to strengthen its oversight role under any new deal, while Kyiv opposes concessions that would give Russia more control.

“We will not agree to any agreement with Russia that will endanger our national interests,” said Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.

Key Russian Demands Ukraine’s Stance
Ability to inspect cargo ships Opposes granting Russia inspection powers
Limits on EU ports receiving exports Rejects any constraints on destinations
Easing Western sanctions on Russian fertilizers Unwilling to link grain deal to sanctions policy

With time running out before the existing deal expires, Erdogan aims to bridge the divide between Russia and Ukraine. Turkey has maintained good working relations with both warring parties,WALKING A CAREFUL DIPLOMATIC LINE THROUGHOUT THE CONFLICT.

Erdogan may float potential compromises around strengthened U.N. monitoring procedures. However, it remains deeply uncertain whether Putin will prove willing to offer concessions that Kyiv could accept.

Wider Agenda for Putin-Erdogan Talks

Beyond the grain deal, Putin and Erdogan will also discuss Turkish plans to launch a new military offensive in northern Syria against U.S.-backed Kurdish militants.

Erdogan seeks Putin’s tacit green light to carry out the operation. While Russia’s interests could be negatively impacted, analysts say Putin may be unwilling to directly oppose Turkish actions as he seeks Erdogan’s continued economic and diplomatic support over Ukraine.

Strengthening bilateral energy cooperation will be another key agenda item. Russian natural gas exports to Turkey rose 30% last year, helping Ankara manage fallout from the European energy crisis. Several Russian business delegations will join Putin on the visit as the two countries explore new joint energy and banking ventures.

Implications: A Careful Balancing Act for Turkey

Erdogan continues walking a fine line between Russia and Ukraine. While firmly supporting Kyiv politically, Turkey has declined to join Western sanctions against Moscow. Its unique position provides rare leverage to engage directly with Putin and broker compromises.

However, Turkey also has crucial economic linkages with Russia to balance. Erdogan’s diplomatic gambit could backfire if perceived as getting too close to Putin in the eyes of Ukraine’s Western backers.

The Kremlin likely sees the visit as an opportunity to showcase Russia’sFriendship with a major NATO power amidst bruising Western sanctions and isolation. But beyond symbolic messaging, the talks will prove a true test of whether practical solutions can be forged to keep Ukrainian exports flowing and ensure global access to vital grains.

AiBot

AiBot

Author

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

Related Post