Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday he would make a “very important” announcement on Ukrainian grain exports after his talks in Sochi with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
“I believe the message to be given at the press conference after our meeting will be very important to the world, especially to the underdeveloped African countries,” Erdogan said in opening remarks of his meeting with Putin.
Erdogan, who was flanked by a large delegation that included Turkey’s defence, foreign, energy and finance ministers, held his first face-to-face meeting with Putin since his re-election in May.
Turkey has been trying to revive a UN-backed agreement that allowed for the safe passage of grain from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports.
Russia pulled out of the deal in July, and then started launching repeated air strikes against Ukrainian port infrastructure.
Turkey and Russia have enjoyed growing ties in several areas, including energy. Erdogan said his government wanted to boost annual trade with Russia to $100 billion from $62 billion, adding that he supported Moscow’s push to switch a part of that trade into liras and rubbles.
“I believe that switching to local currencies is extremely important in bilateral relations,” Erdogan said.
NATO member Turkey is hoping to use the grain agreement as a basis for restarting peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv.
Ankara has managed to have friendly ties with the two sides throughout the war. It has shied away from Western sanctions imposed on Russia but supplied arms to Ukraine.