December 3, 2023

Jens Stoltenberg is on 3-day visit to Türkiye

Moon Desk: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday received NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Istanbul.

Turkish first lady Emine Erdogan and Stoltenberg’s wife Ingrid Schulerud were also present at the reception held at Dolmabahce Presidential Office.

On Thursday, the NATO secretary general arrived in Türkiye on a three-day visit that is expected to be centered around the extension of the Istanbul grain deal, and NATO membership bids of Sweden and Finland.

Stoltenberg also met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Istanbul on Thursday.

Earlier, NATO chief said on Thursday, Turkiye’s support to Ukraine has reduced “some of the effects of brutal war.

“I want to thank Türkiye for all its support to Ukraine. The cutting-edge drones and ships built here in Türkiye are helping to uphold Ukraine’s right to self-defence,” said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a joint news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Istanbul.

“Türkiye is a highly valued NATO ally and making important contributions to our shared security. You play a major role in the fight against terrorism, including in our mission in Iraq,” he said.

Stoltenberg hailed Türkiye and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “for negotiating safe passage for Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, easing the global food crisis,” saying that implementation of the grain deal demonstrates the “important role” Türkiye plays in the conflict in Ukraine.

Ankara’s “diplomatic efforts are supporting and enabling” the grain deal, he said, and exchange of prisoners were “extremely important” in reducing “some of the effect of the brutal war going on in Ukraine.”

For his part, Cavusoglu recalled that the Black Sea grain export deal needs to be renewed in 20 days and affirmed Türkiye’s continued efforts to ensure that the deal is implemented uninterrupted.

Emphasizing that it is “very important” to keep the commitments made to Russia on exports of its grain and fertilizers, Cavusoglu said such move would not mean supporting Moscow but instead abiding by the deal.

“Russian grain and fertilizers are needed by the entire world, mostly by the least developed countries,” he added.

“It is imperative to resort to diplomacy despite all challenges for clashes to end,” he stressed.

On Saturday, Russia announced that it would suspend its participation in the deal for what it alleged was a Ukrainian attack on its Black Sea fleet at the port of Sevastopol. Moscow returned to the deal on Wednesday after a phone call between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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