Türkiye is determined to send grain and flour to African countries via the Black Sea grain corridor, the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared.
“(Russian President Vladimir) Putin told me: ‘I’ll give you the grain for free, and you deliver it to poor African countries,'” Erdogan said on Sunday at an event in the southern Antalya province.
“And we say: ‘Okay. We’ll get this for free from you. Let’s turn it into flour in our factories, and send it to these poor African countries.’ We agreed,” he added.
Erdogan said 44 percent of Ukrainian grain is sent to Europe.
“We are determined and we will make an effort to send these products to African countries from this grain corridor,” he added.
In July last year, Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which were paused after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February 2022.
A Joint Coordination Centre with officials from the three countries and the UN was set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments.
The first ship carrying grain departed on August 1, 2022 from the Ukrainian port of Odessa under the historic Ankara-brokered deal.
Last November, it was reported that Ukraine had also agreed to send 125 thousand tonnes of grain to Sudan, Yemen, Kenya and Nigeria.
READ MORE: Which African countries benefit from Türkiye-brokered grain deal?
Before the war, Ukraine has been ramping up wheat shipments to African countries starting in 2019.
According to an Argus Media report, about 6.26 million metric tonnes of Ukrainian wheat was exported to Africa in the 2021-22 marketing year, accounting for nearly 12 percent of African wheat imports.
Egypt was the largest buyer, followed by Tunisia, Morocco, Ethiopia, Algeria, and Nigeria.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine in February 2022, however, has disrupted those wheat supplies shipment.
Türkiye’s peace efforts
Türkiye, internationally praised for its unique mediator role between Ukraine and Russia, has repeatedly called on Kiev and Moscow to end the war through negotiations.
Erdogan said Türkiye is doing its part to find a solution to the Russia-Ukraine war as opposed to those who “are helping arms dealers.”
“We are putting effort to achieve world peace. On the same day, we are talking both with Putin and (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelenskyy,” he said.
“We are making an effort to see how we can reconcile them. We continue on our way by showing this sincerity because we know that the world can only rise on peace,” he added.
READ MORE: Erdogan: Black Sea grain deal result of Türkiye’s mediation
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