President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday discussed the ongoing war in Ukraine and the establishment of safe corridors for grain export via the Black Sea with Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with the situation in Syria.
In a phone call with his Russian counterpart, Erdoğan told Putin that "it is time for United Nations to act on safe corridor plan in the Black Sea for grain exports, the president's office said in a readout.
Turkey attaches importance to the extension of the cross-border mechanism in Syria, Erdoğan said.
Earlier in June, Erdoğan had said that Turkey would launch new military operations in Syria to extend the 30-kilometer (20-mile) deep "safe zones" along the border, aiming at the Tal Rifaat and Manbij regions and other areas further east.
Turkey borders Syria and Iraq to its south, and has worked to eliminate existing terrorist bases and prevent new ones there that would threaten its national security and the safety of locals across its borders.
Ankara has launched successive operations against the PKK in northern Iraq since 2020, most recently, Operation Claw-Lock in April to target PKK hideouts in Iraq's Metina region. It was preceded by operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle, which were launched in 2020 to root out terrorists hiding in northern Iraq and plotting cross-border attacks within Turkish territory.
The president also reiterated Ankara's willingness to keep doing its part for peace in Ukraine. The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine should end with lasting peace, Erdoğan told Putin during the phone call.
"Turkey is ready to make every possible contribution in this regard," he added.
Turkey is one of the most active countries working to ensure a permanent cease-fire between Ukraine and Russia. Its delicately balanced act of assuming a role as a mediator by keeping communication channels with both warring sides open provides a glimmer of hope in diplomatic efforts to find a solution and achieve peace in the Ukraine crisis. With its unique position of having friendly relations with both Russia and Ukraine, Turkey has won widespread praise for its push to end the war.
Since the beginning of the conflict, Ankara has offered to mediate between the two sides and host peace talks, underlining its support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. While Ankara has opposed international sanctions designed to isolate Moscow, it also closed its straits to prevent some Russian vessels from passing through them.
Negotiations in Istanbul held in March failed to make any headway but Turkey, which has close ties with both Kyiv and Moscow, has repeatedly put itself forward as a possible mediator.
Besides the death and devastation sown by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the war and the West's attempt to isolate Russia as punishment have sent the price of grain, cooking oil, fertilizer and energy soaring, hurting global growth.
Turkey has been engaged in efforts to establish a possible safe sea corridor in the Black Sea to export Ukrainian grain.
Ankara has so far held talks with Moscow and the U.N. on the planned corridor, but has said any final agreement would require all parties to meet in Istanbul, where Turkey says the plan’s implementation would be monitored.
Both Ukraine and Russia have set out a series of conditions to agree the plan. Moscow wants some Western sanctions lifted to help facilitate its grain and fertilizer exports, while Kyiv seeks security guarantees for its ports.