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Türkiye ‘closely’ follows drone crash over Black Sea: Defense chief

Türkiye is “closely” following the Tuesday’s drone crash over the Black Sea, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday.

“As you know, such an incident occurred yesterday. … We are following the event closely. We have various contacts,” Akar told the reporters at the parliament in the capital Ankara.

His remarks came a day after a Russian fighter jet crashed into a US drone in international airspace above the Black Sea.

Türkiye is in favor of a “reasonable resolution” to the incident, Akar added.

A Russian SU-27 fighter jet crashed into a US unmanned aerial vehicle in international airspace above the Black Sea, causing the American aircraft to crash, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The incident occurred after the Russian jet and another SU-27 “conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept” of the Reaper, including dumping fuel on the drone and flying in front of it “in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner,” according to the US European Command.

The drone was conducting reconnaissance when one of the SU-27 jets struck the propeller of the MQ-9 Reaper at roughly 7.03 a.m. CET (0603GMT) on Tuesday, prompting the drone’s operators to bring it down in international waters.

About a question whether the ships will be allowed to pass through the Turkish Straits, Akar said: “We continue to work with the (Turkish) presidency in close communication with the (Turkish) Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of National Defense. We will see the results in the coming period.”

Regarding the Black Sea grain deal which was set to expire on Saturday, Akar said Türkiye is in contact with the parties.

He added that the deal has allowed the export of 24 million tons of grain, and contributed to the regional stability.

Akar said the extension of the deal for another 120 days would be “more useful.”

“We started negotiations with the idea of ​​extending the grain corridor for another 120 days in accordance with the initial version of the agreement.

“… In this sense, we will continue our contacts regarding 120 days instead of two months. The parties will evaluate them and make their decision,” he said.

Last July, Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed a deal in Istanbul to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports which were paused after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February 2022. The deal was extended for 120 days in November 2022.

Russia said it backs a 60-day extension to the landmark deal. However, Ukraine on Monday said Russia’s position to extend the deal “only for 60 days contradicts the document.”

“Hopefully we will try to resolve this as soon as possible,” Akar said.

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