Erdogan Plans to Meet Putin Next Week to Discuss Grain Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to meet Vladimir Putin in Russia next week to discuss reviving the Black Sea grain deal.

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Erdogan could possibly go to Russia on Sept. 8, before traveling to India to attend the Group of 20 Summit in New Delhi, according two Turkish officials familiar with the matter. The Turkish presidency declined to comment.

Erdogan wants the deal, which allowed Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea and which Russia pulled out of last month, to be restarted. Global wheat prices have been volatile since then and especially after Russia targeted some Ukrainian crop-export infrastructure with drones. Erdogan is working to make sure that the world doesn’t face a food crisis, Omer Celik, spokesman for Turkey’s ruling AK Party, said Monday.

President Erdogan “will soon pay a visit to Sochi,” Celik said after a party meeting chaired by Erdogan in Ankara. “We evaluate that there will be new developments on this issue and a new phase can be reached.”

Putin and Erdogan have maintained extensive contacts following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. They’ve held at least 10 telephone conversations so far this year, according to the Kremlin website, as well as a videoconference marking the delivery of Russian nuclear fuel to Turkey’s Akkuyu plant in April.

Read more: Russia Opens Fire to Force Black Sea Cargo Ship Inspection

“We believe it is important to avoid taking any actions during this process that will exacerbate tension and disrupt the peace in the Black Sea,” Erdogan told a Crimean Platform summit in Kyiv last week.

A meeting “will take place soon,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call Monday, the Interfax news service reported. Peskov declined to say when it will happen.

--With assistance from Tony Halpin.

(Updates with meeting planned for Sochi in fourth paragraph.)

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