MOSCOW, February 24. /TASS/. Russian and Turkish Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, discussed the situation around Ukraine and the implementation of the Istanbul agreements, the Kremlin press service said on Friday after their telephone conversation. The two leaders agreed to continue personal contacts.
"The leaders exchanged views on the situation around Ukraine in the context of the principled assessments laid bare by the Russian president in his recent State of the Nation Address. Special attention was focused on the implementation of the Istanbul agreements on the export of Ukrainian grain and the export of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers. The presidents stressed the necessity of bona fide implementation of the second part of the ‘package,’ concerning the removal of obstacles for corresponding supplies from Russia to the poorest countries," it said.
A package of documents geared to resolve the problem of food and fertilizer supplies on global markets was signed on July 22 in Istanbul for a term of 120 days. One of the agreements regulating grain exports from the Kiev-controlled ports of Odessa, Chernomorsk, and Yuzhny was to expire on November 19. On November 17, the agreements were extended for 120 more days. According to the Russian foreign ministry, the deal was automatically extended since there were no objections from either of the parties to it (Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, the United Nations).
Along with that, Russia and the United Nations signed a memorandum envisaging that the UN will take steps to lift various restrictions on exports of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers on global market.
Russia has repeatedly pointed to the non-implementation of several provisions of the deal, including those envisaging that this grain is to be exported to the poorest countries. It also draws attention to the obstacles for the export of Russian fertilizers and food to the global market. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said in an interview with RTVI on February 13 that the concept of the Istanbul agreements and the extension of the grain deal in March looks non-expedient for Russia, since there are no visible results.
Energy supplies and construction of Akkuyu NPP
Presidents also addressed energy supplies and construction of Akkuyu NPP.
"The leaders discussed practical aspects of further supplies of Russian energy sources and the construction of the Akkuyu NPP," Kremlin press service said.
Russia supplies gas to Turkey, including via the Turk Stream gas pipeline, In October 2022, the Russian president suggested an idea of creating a gas hub in Turkey to pump the lost transit via Nord Stream. Ankara welcomed the idea and said the bulk of infrastructure for creating hub and a gas trading center in Istanbul is already ready.
The Akkuyu NPP, the first nuclear power plant in Turkey, is being built on the basis on the Russain-Turkish intergovernmental agreement dated May 12, 2010. According to forecasts, the nuclear plant will satisfy up to ten percent of Turkey’s electricity demand. The construction of the first unit is expected to be finished in 2023.
Erdogan also thanked Putin for post-earthquake assistance. The two leaders agreed to continue personal contacts.
Two powerful 7.7-magnitude and 7.6-magnitude earthquakes rocked Turkey’s Kahramanmaras province, located in the country’s southeast, on February 6. The tremors, followed by hundreds of aftershocks, were felt in ten provinces as well as in neighboring countries, including Syria. On Monday, magnitude 6.4 and 5.8 earthquakes rocked southeastern Turkey with an interval of 17 minutes. According to the Haberturk television channel, damage was reported in the city of Defne in the Hatay province. Tremors were felt in Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon, and Syria. The death toll from these earthquakes stands at 43,556.
More than 150 specials from Russia took part in the rescue operation in Turkey, along with rescuers from other countries. Russia rescuers completed their mission on February 15. They rescued six people from under the rubble and offered assistance to more than 800 people who were injured in the quake.