Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Turkey is already on the world agenda. While the UN announced that it would closely follow the visit, the US emphasized the ‘meaningful role’. In the news in world newspapers, Turkey’s critical role was emphasized.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s expected visit to Turkey on February 12 has already become one of the most important topics on the international agenda.
The fact that Turkey is the first Western and NATO country that Putin will visit since February 2022, when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, makes this visit even more important.
The United States, Ukraine and Western countries have been critical of the visit, but are focusing on the possible consequences in terms of reviving the grain corridor and returning to the negotiating table.
THIS IS A FIRST
Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan noted that Putin’s visit was originally planned for earlier but was delayed due to regional developments.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin’s visit would be important for discussing both bilateral and regional issues.
Putin, who has not made many foreign visits in the two years since he launched the invasion of Ukraine, will visit Turkey for the first time since the war began on February 24, 2022.
What makes Putin’s meeting with Erdoğan all the more remarkable is that he will be visiting one of NATO’s leading countries days before the second anniversary of the war.
UN WILL FOLLOW CLOSELY
Although it has not yet been officially announced, both the United Nations (UN) and the United States have already commented on Putin’s visit, a fact that epitomizes the West’s interest.
UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, in response to a question at a press conference earlier this week, noted that they will closely follow Putin’s visit to Turkey.
In response to a question about the revitalization of the grain corridor, Dujarric reminded that the UN was not involved in the Turkey-Russia talks.
CAN THE GRAIN AGREEMENT BE REVIVED?
Established in July 2022, the Black Sea Grain Initiative was brought to life with separate memorandums of understanding signed by Turkey and the UN with Russia and Ukraine.
Russia announced the suspension of the initiative in July 2023, citing its inability to sell its own grain products and fertilizer.
Foreign Minister Fidan said on February 4 that Turkey was working to revive the initiative with a new formula.
Reminding that Ukraine is still able to pass some of its ships carrying grain through the Black Sea, but security remains a major problem, while Russia has problems because it cannot get the money for the grain it sells, Fidan said, “We are working for a solution that will satisfy both sides.”
Fidan had also announced that if a formula was found, they would share it with the public.
Diplomatic sources point to the difficulty of reviving the grain corridor in the current situation. In an environment where Russia continues to blockade Ukrainian ports and the international community does not respond to Russia’s expectations in areas such as banking and insurance, it will be difficult to revive the grain corridor initiative.
US EMPHASIZES MEANINGFUL ROLE
Another capital that will closely monitor Putin’s visit will be Washington. At a press conference on February 5, US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel responded to a question about Putin’s visit to Turkey.
“If any country can play a meaningful role in trying to dissuade Russia from some of its malicious behavior, we would certainly welcome that,” Patel said, referring to the Black Sea grain corridor initiative.
“We continue to feel that it is critical that Ukrainian grain gets where it needs to go and that there is credible progress in this area. This is certainly something that is welcome.”
KEY COUNTRY TURKEY
The international news agency Associated Press (AP) highlighted the significance of Putin’s first visit to a NATO state since the invasion of Ukraine, reporting, “Turkey has sought to maintain good relations with its Black Sea neighbors Russia and Ukraine. It has refused to join the Western sanctions against Moscow, while at the same time supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and supplying arms to Kiev. It helped the United Nations broker a grain deal to ensure safe passage through Ukrainian ports,” he recalled.
Newsweek, in an analysis written days earlier, described Turkey as a key NATO country and said;
TURKEY BRINGS THE PARTIES TO THE TABLE
Turkey brought Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers together in Antalya just weeks after the war began in February 2022, but no agreement was reached.
President Erdoğan had suggested to Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Turkey could host the peace talks.
In addition to these factors, Foreign Minister Fidan underlines that Turkey and Russia are present in many conflict points and that the dialogue between Ankara and Moscow is important to prevent the spread of violence in Syria, the Caucasus and the Middle East.