When Russia suspended its participation in the historic grain deal last week, citing allegations of a Ukrainian drone attack on its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, alarm bells rang.
Many, especially in countries with high vulnerability, such as in African countries including Somalia, Djibouti and Sudan, could face starvation if this were to be a long-term decision. However, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan intervened and the problem seems to have been solved for the moment. A major crisis that could affect millions of people on Earth is again hindered thanks to the mediation of Türkiye and the United Nations.
On Wednesday, with the mediation of Türkiye, Russia was convinced to come back to the table but it was not easy. Russia wanted guarantees and Ankara and the UN tried to bring the parties together to convince Ukraine to give the guarantees and Moscow to calm down.
Ukraine has pledged never to use the maritime corridor for military operations. Another point was the guarantee given to Russia that the supply chain would not only end in Western countries but that African countries would be given priority, which is a good gain for the agreement negotiated by the UN and the Turkey thanks to Ankara’s mediation efforts.
Following the easing of the crisis, the prices of wheat, soybeans, corn and rapeseed fell sharply on world markets. Grain prices fell 6%, which had increased when Russia withdrew from the agreement. This crisis has also shown that it is crucial to be able to speak to both sides in this war and that, again, Turkey is the only country to have built this relationship with both Russia and Ukraine. That is why Ukrainian President Vlodymr Zekenskyy said: “We will continue in accordance with the agreement between the UN and Turkey on the Black Sea Grains Agreement”. This is also why Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “Erdoğan is a leader who keeps his word. Getting along with him can be difficult. However, after accepting and shaking hands, he keeps his promise. The choice of Türkiye as a new natural gas distribution center also depends on this. »
So, on the whole, it can be said that Erdoğan’s diplomacy in the Ukrainian crisis is a definite success, on which all parties agree. This diplomacy gives Ankara power over energy routes and priority on the international stage.
Change in EU policy
In fact, Türkiye’s course since the start of the Ukrainian-Russian war has always been consistent and independent. While the West bitterly opposed Moscow, cut all ties and imposed embargoes on almost everything from Russia, Turkey remained in contact with both sides, giving it a unique position. This is why the country is not affected by the gas crisis in Europe and has become the bridge between Russia and the West.
Today, Europe is seeking a change of policy. While the European Union has urged Russia to reverse its decision to suspend its participation in the historic agreement, some EU countries such as the Netherlands have decided to lift certain embargoes on Russian products and to other countries will begin to relax the strict “no dialogue” policy.
On the other hand, Russia should not feel victorious in this war. Europe therefore needs Turkey’s balance and rhythm to adapt its policy. Ukraine must be helped and protected as civilians are dying under bombardment, but westerners must also be protected from winter cold and soaring energy prices. Türkiye can show balance.