Trkiye wants continuation of Black Sea grain deal, says defense minister

Ankara wants the continuation of the Black Sea grain deal, which is set to expire next week, Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Thursday. "Our wish is the extension of the grain agreement," Akar said at the distinguished observer day of the Anatolian-Eagle 2023 military exercise in the central Konya province. "This benefits everyone. Besides, we have commercial ships waiting in Ukrainian ports. Negotiations continue for their safe evacuation," he added. The deputy defense ministers of Trkiye, Russia, Ukraine and also UN officials on Wednesday met in Istanbul to discuss the deal, Akar said, adding that the talks continued on Thursday as well. Akar added that so far, more than 30 million tons of grain were transported to those in need under the deal, which is set to expire on May 18. Trkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul last July to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which were halted after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February 2022. A Joint Coordination Center with officials from the three countries and the UN was set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments. Anatolian Eagle-2023 military exercise Akar attended the military exercise, along with his Azerbaijani counterpart Zakir Hasanov The minister said that the Turkish Air Force had a distinguished and respected position in the field of aviation. He also said the exercises served to boost cooperation between forces and allies. For his part, Hasanov said two Azerbaijani military planes had participated in the exercise, along with 47 personnel. "Our joint military activities further reinforce the unity and brotherhood among our military personnel. "Exercises held in different climatic conditions play a special role in increasing the possibilities and capabilities of our army," he said. The objective of the exercise was to increase the operational training level of pilots and air defense personnel under realistic conditions and develop joint and combined operational procedures. At the event, fighter pilots also had the opportunity to execute planned tactics with large force compositions. At Trkiye's 3rd Main Jet Base in the central province of Konya, military observers of participating countries and members of the press also enjoyed a flight show by the Turkish Air Force Turkish Stars.

Source: Anadolu Agency