Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that his country is leading intensive diplomatic activities in order to facilitate the export of grain and fertilizers from Ukraine and Russia to international markets in an effort to prevent a global food crisis.
This came in an exclusive interview with Kalin ahead of the NATO summit, which will be hosted by the Spanish capital, Madrid, on June 29-30.
Regarding his recent meetings in Madrid, Kalin said that he had “comprehensive, constructive and effective” meetings with the Spanish Minister of State for International Cooperation and European Union Affairs, “Angeles Moreno Pau” and the Director of the Coordination Office of the European Union Presidency in the Spanish Prime Minister, “Aurora Mejia”.
Kalin indicated that Turkey conveyed its satisfaction to the Spanish side against the backdrop of Madrid extending the mission of Patriot air defense missiles in the Turkish state of Adana (south), which are in the region within the framework of NATO missions.
Kalin pointed out that the Turkish side is assessing what can be done to increase the volume of bilateral trade between Turkey and Spain, which rose from $16 billion to $20 billion last year.
He noted that he had discussed with Spanish officials, during the talks, files related to the war in Ukraine and the events in the South Caucasus, Syria and the eastern Mediterranean.
Kalin indicated that it is important to transfer agricultural products and fertilizers from Ukraine and Russia to international markets in order to prevent a global food crisis, pointing out that his country is conducting a number of intensive diplomatic activities in this direction.
He added, “Currently, the most logical and economically feasible option for transporting Ukrainian grain products to the international market is transporting them through the ports of the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Bosphorus Strait.”
“Of course, the Ukrainian side will work to remove mines in the ports of Odessa, but in return Russia provides legitimate security guarantees not to carry out sea landings in these ports,” he added.
“In addition, we are continuing to hold the required consultations in order to establish a mechanism for operating Ukrainian ports with the participation of Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations, and I can say that the talks are taking place in a positive atmosphere so far,” he added.
Kalin indicated that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Turkey next week, and that important decisions may be taken during the visit.
He stressed that the re-export of grain through Ukrainian ports, the Black Sea and the Bosphorus Strait will play a major role in preventing a global food crisis.
He added, “We expect that after Mr. Lavrov’s visit to Turkey, efforts to deal with the various aspects of this issue will be accelerated, effective decisions will be taken in this regard, and the grain export process will begin as soon as possible within the framework of a specific memorandum of understanding.”
Kalin described the NATO summit, to be held at the end of this month, with the participation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as “one of the important summits that will assess the concept of strategies in NATO.”
He stated that it is of great importance to hold this summit in conjunction with raising issues such as the war in Ukraine, cyber security, food security and various regional issues, including counter-terrorism and relations with Russia.
Kalin also stressed that Turkey is a country with the second largest army in NATO and plays important roles in all of the alliance’s military missions.
He stressed that Ankara is making every effort to ensure the success of the summit, which will define the strategic concept paper for NATO, as well as its positions towards future challenges.
Kalin noted that Sweden and Finland have applied for NATO membership and will participate in the NATO Summit in Madrid as specially invited countries, reiterating that the two countries should address Turkey’s concerns regarding the fight against terrorism.
“We communicated our expectations, demands and concerns to our Swedish and Finnish interlocutors clearly and constructively, but in a very assertive way,” he added.
He continued, “We clearly expressed our position towards the presence of organizations such as the PKK (a terrorist organization operating in several countries in the region, including Syria, Iraq and Iran), the YPG (the terrorist arm of the PKK in Syria) and the PYD (the political wing of the YP). Ji in Syria) and the terrorist Fethullah Gulen in these two countries.
“We also shared with them the information, documents and the structure of these organizations there, and we also expressed the need to take a clear and unambiguous stance against individuals and organizations that collect funds and recruit individuals to support terrorist activities,” he added.
He pointed out that Turkey has not yet received a tangible response from the other side that removes concerns in light of the continuation of negotiations, adding: “Therefore, there will be no progress without addressing Turkey’s security concerns.”
On the possibility of setting a specific date for the admission of Sweden and Finland to NATO membership, they said: “We do not see ourselves bound by a specific time. The summit is very important. It is extremely important for the NATO summit to succeed and for the alliance to strengthen its cooperation and solidarity in light of the new international conditions, the war in Ukraine and other developments.” .
He continued, “For this reason, it is very important that Turkey’s concerns about terrorism be taken into account, especially since NATO is not an economic cooperation organization or a tourism association. NATO is a security alliance. Therefore, when a security issue arises for a member state, it must be taken seriously.”
And he added, “Even in the case of accepting membership of new countries, these countries must also take into account the concerns of the member states of the alliance and take concrete steps in this direction.”
On the news of Turkish preparations for a new cross-border military operation in northern Syria, Kalin said: “Turkey has taken the necessary measures with its own means and capabilities to secure the Syrian border and will continue to make efforts in this direction.”
Kalin stated that Turkey “carried out 3 major military operations against all threats emanating from Syria, including the PKK, YPG, BYD, ISIS and others,” stressing that these measures are Turkey’s natural right to protect the security of its borders and the safety of its citizens.
They noted that “Western countries have not responded positively to President Erdogan’s proposal during the past ten years to establish a safe zone in Syria in order to ensure that the Syrians remain in their country instead of turning into refugees. However, Turkey has already established a safe zone in areas such as Idlib and Afrin, which The Syrians were allowed to stay there.”
He continued, “We always tell our interlocutors that the Turkish military presence in northern Syria prevents the emergence of new waves of immigration. Therefore, instead of criticizing the Turkish military presence there (in northern Syria), friendly and allied countries should be grateful to Turkey for these efforts.”
And he added, “Any possible wave of migration from Idlib and other regions (northern Syria) will not only strike Turkey, but will also reach the entire European continent.”
Kalin concluded his speech by emphasizing that “Turkey is unable to receive a new wave of migration, as this is greater than our capabilities and capabilities, and Ankara is making every effort to ensure the return of Syrian refugees in Turkey to their countries and regions in a safe, voluntary and dignified manner, and will continue to make the necessary efforts in this regard.”