Türkiye fulfills its responsibilities' in line with deal brokered on Ukrainian grain exports: Defense minister

Ankara favors continuation of Russian, Ukrainian cooperation, says Hulusi Akar.

Türkiye fulfills its responsibilities' in line with deal brokered on Ukrainian grain exports: Defense minister

Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday that Türkiye continues to fulfill its responsibilities under the grain deal it brokered between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul on Friday. 

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Hulusi Akar said Türkiye has been in contact with both Ukrainian and Russian sides about Saturday's missile attack on Ukraine's Odesa port, adding: "We continue to fulfill our responsibilities in line with the deal we brokered yesterday."

Türkiye expressed its support in the meetings that it favors the continuation of both parties' cooperation in a calm and patient manner, Akar added.

Akar said that after hearing about the missile attack, he had phone conversations with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov and Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.

He went on to say: "The fact that such an incident took place right after the deal we made yesterday regarding the grain shipment really worried us."

There is no setback on the loading capacity and capability of docks at Odesa port, according to Ukrainian officials, he added.

Akar noted that Ukrainian officials said "one of the missiles hit one of the (grain) silos, and the other one fell in an area close to the silo, but the important thing is that there is no setback in the loading capacity and capability of the docks, and that the activities can continue."

Türkiye is also in close contact with Russia, Akar added, saying: "The Russians told us that they had absolutely nothing to do with this attack and that they were inspecting the issue very closely and in detail."

Referring to the agreement allowing the resumption of Ukraine’s grain export via the Black Sea, Akar said: "There was a drop in the prices (of grain) as stated by the experts, that this should be continued as it is very important for humanity, in terms of meeting the food need and the relief of the people waiting for this."

‘Türkiye’s coordination with Russia, Ukraine continues’

"Our coordination with Russia and Ukraine continues and it will continue," Akar said, and added: “The works we have been carrying out since yesterday (Friday) for the joint coordination center to work, as required by the deal, have been concluded.”

“Representatives of Russia and Ukraine, including the UN representative, are now working with Türkiye at the Joint Coordination Center,” he said.

“Our hope and wish is that these and similar events are left aside as soon as possible and the work begins soon under the agreement we have reached,” he noted, adding that Türkiye is currently monitoring the situation closely and continues its contacts.

With the mediation of Türkiye and the UN, Kyiv and Moscow signed an agreement in Istanbul on Friday to resume Ukrainian grain shipments from Black Sea ports.

Under the deal, reached on a UN-led plan during talks in Istanbul, a coordination center has been established to carry out joint inspections at the entrances and exits of harbors, and to ensure the safety of the routes.

Internationally praised for its mediator role, Türkiye has coordinated with Moscow and Kyiv to open a corridor from the Ukrainian port city of Odesa to restart shipments stuck due to the Russia-Ukraine war that started on Feb. 24.

Türkiye also hosted a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers in the Mediterranean city of Antalya in March, part of its push to forge peace between the warring sides.

Hüseyin Demir