Putin and Erdogan seek closer ties at Black Sea talks

Russian and Turkish presidents meet face to face for second time in three weeks

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that they would seek closer ties between Russia and Turkey as they met in Sochi in the shadow of the war in Ukraine.

Mr Erdogan, who has positioned himself as a go-between during the war, said he wanted the talks to open a “different page” in ties between Moscow and Ankara.

He said after the two leaders shook hands in Sochi that talks between their understudies had been fruitful and that they would discuss the situation in Syria as well as Ukraine.

It is the second meeting in three weeks between the two men. Their first round of talks was best remembered for Mr Putin and the television crews being made to wait nearly a minute for Mr Erdogan to arrive.

Mr Putin said on Friday he was hoping to sign a concrete agreement on deeper ties.

“I hope that today we will be able to sign a relevant memorandum on the development of our trade and economic ties,” the Russian president said, as the two leaders sat down for talks.

Mr Erdogan said: “I believe this will open a very different page. Whether it's energy, or the latest steps taken for agriculture, grain on the Black Sea line. Discussion about tourism, steps taken in transportation.”

The Russian leader praised the TurkStream natural gas pipeline, saying Europe should be grateful to Turkey for uninterrupted supplies of Russian gas.

“TurkStream, in comparison to all our other directions of supplies of our hydrocarbons, works properly, rhythmically, without any failure,” he said. Western powers say it is Russia causing hold-ups on other routes.

Mr Erdogan also said in comments broadcast on Turkish television that it was important that the Akkuyu nuclear plant being built by a Russian company in southern Turkey was completed on time.

On Syria, Mr Erdogan said he believed their talks “will bring further relief to the region”.

Turkey has positioned itself as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine. EPA

The talks come two weeks after Turkey brokered a deal involving Russia and Ukraine to resume much-needed grain exports via the Black Sea.

The agreement raised hopes in Ankara that a similar diplomatic push could bring an end to five months of fighting, after earlier negotiations stalled following the discovery of alleged Russian atrocities.

Ukraine said on Friday that three more ships carrying agricultural produce had set off, with the Maltese-flagged Rojen and the Turkish Polarnet leaving Chornomorsk while the Panama-flagged Navistar departed from Odesa.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the talks in Sochi will allow Mr Putin and Mr Erdogan to review the implementation of the grain deal.

Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said after the ships set off: “We expect that the security guarantees of our partners from the UN and Turkey will continue to work, and food exports from our ports will become stable and predictable for all market participants.”

Updated: August 05, 2022, 4:44 PM
NEWSLETTERS
MORE FROM THE NATIONAL