Russian President Vladimir Putin received his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Sochi on Friday to discuss the situation in Syria and Ukraine. The harmony between the two leaders – as highlighted by the fact that this is the second face-to-face meeting between the two in less than a month – has allowed the two countries to reach agreements in various conflicts in which they support opposing sides and that Turkey, despite to become a member of NATO, is considered a reliable mediator by Moscow. Not in vain, Erdogan affirmed that the Russian-Turkish dialogue will serve to bring “relief to the region”. Putin thanked Erdogan for mediating him to reach an agreement with kyiv on the establishment of a naval corridor for the export of cereals from the Ukrainian ports. The agreement was signed on July 22 in Istanbul and, for Moscow, means “opening the way for the export of Russian fertilizers and food”, which have been excluded from European sanctions. “This is something crucial for developing countries, which would otherwise suffer from the food crisis,” Putin stressed. More information Russia’s acquiescence is essential for the Ukrainian grain corridor retained by the war to work. Precisely this Friday, three new ships left the Ukrainian ports of Odessa and Chornomorsk loaded with about 58,041 tons of corn to Turkey, Ireland and the United Kingdom; that is, the destinations they had planned before being trapped in Ukraine by the Russian invasion. On their way through Istanbul, the ships must be inspected by members of the Joint Coordination Center (JCC), where Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN are represented. Similarly, on Friday morning, another bulk carrier was inspected in Istanbul before setting sail for the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk. She will be the first commercial ship to arrive at Ukrainian Black Sea ports since the start of the war. “Given the lessons learned during the Razoni movement [el primer barco en salir tras la firma del acuerdo], the CCC has authorized this movement as a second rehearsal, in order to test operations in the corridor with multiple outgoing ships, as well as one incoming one,” the agency explained in a statement. One of the Turkish president’s objectives is to ensure that Putin gives the green light to a new Turkish military intervention in Syria against the Kurdish militias. Russia is the main supporter of the Bashar al-Assad regime, without whose support it would probably have fallen in 2015, and Turkey is the only country that continues to firmly support the various rebel factions against Damascus, mostly Islamists. Ankara, whose Army controls several strips of territory in the north of the country, now intends to act against the towns of Tal Rifaat and Manbij, controlled by the Kurdish YPG militias, alleging their links to the PKK armed group (included in the lists of terrorist organizations of the EU and the US). So far, Ankara has received nothing but refusals: both from the United States, for which the YPG have been key allies in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists, and from Tehran and Moscow, which they maintain a presence in the Tal Rifaat area (in the northwest)Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.SubscribeHowever, Putin has always left an open door and has recognized Ankara’s “concerns” for its security. Aware of the blisters raised within NATO by a new intervention by Turkey against the Kurdish militias, the Russian leader also knows that Ankara is one of the main avenues of breathing space for a Russian economy that is increasingly isolated by sanctions. Air links continue to function normally between Russia and Turkey and numerous Russian companies have been founded in recent months to act as intermediaries between European suppliers and Russian customers. In fact, Putin gave the example of the operation of the Turkstream gas pipeline, which, through the waters of the Black Sea, has the capacity to transport 31.5 billion cubic meters of gas a year to Turkey and the European Union. The Russian president said European leaders should be “grateful” to Turkey because the pipeline is still running “smoothly.” He also mentioned the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant (in the Turkish province of Mersin) by a Russian company, the first reactor of which is scheduled to come online in 2023. Follow all the international information on Facebook and Twitter, or in our weekly newsletter .50% discountSubscribe to continue readingRead without limits
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