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Türkiye expects Russia, Ukraine to implement grain export deal: President

Türkiye’s president on Monday called on the parties who signed a deal last week to unblock Ukraine’s Black Sea grain exports to respect and implement the pact.

"We expect everyone to take ownership of their signatures and act in accordance with their responsibilities," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a live interview with national broadcaster TRT Haber.

"With this agreement, the effects of the global food crisis, which is reaching serious dimensions, will begin to ease," he added.

On Friday, Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed a landmark deal to resume grain exports through the Ukrainian ports of Odesa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny after months of blockage due to the Russia-Ukraine war, now in its sixth month.

Under the deal, a joint coordination center was set up in Istanbul to carry out inspections at the entrances and exits of harbors, and to ensure the safety of the routes.

Addressing Russia's weekend attack on the port of Odesa, Erdogan said it "saddens" Türkiye, adding that "a failure here would work against all of us."

Sweden, Finland’s NATO bids

Erdogan said Türkiye will not take a positive attitude towards the NATO membership bids of Sweden and Finland unless they meet their promises to fight terrorism.

"As long as they do not prevent extensions of the terrorist organization (PKK) from operating against our country, they should not expect a positive approach from us," he said, referring to the YPG/PKK, the terrorist group’s Syrian branch.

"Concessions from Türkiye should not be expected," he added.

Erdogan said Türkiye insistently reminded them that they should not give support to the YPG/PKK or the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) – the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Türkiye – and that "this is our red line."

"It's not just only Sweden, and Finland. Unfortunately, Germany is like this, France is like this, the UK is like this, Italy is like this, almost all Scandinavian countries are like this," he added, decrying Western tolerance for or support for terrorist groups.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in June, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine.

But Türkiye, a member of NATO for over 70 years, voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups.

A trilateral agreement signed among the countries in June stipulates that Finland and Sweden will not provide support to the YPG/PYD, the PKK's Syrian offshoot, nor to FETO, and said Ankara extends full support to Finland and Sweden against threats to their national security.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the European Union, and the US, and is responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is its Syrian branch.

Syria has become 'home of terrorist groups,'

During his talks with Russian and Iranian counterparts in Tehran last week, Erdogan stressed that Türkiye will continue to fight terrorism.

"Syria has become the home of terrorist groups. Therefore, both Russia and Iran should take a stance against Syria," he said.

"Especially west and east of the Euphrates River, the terrorist organization PKK/YPG still continues its attacks against civilians and our country. I personally conveyed our determination to fight this fight to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and Iranian president (Ebrahim Raisi) during the summit," he said.

Last week, a trilateral meeting was held between Erdogan, Putin, and Raisi in Iran's capital Tehran. The leaders gathered for the 7th summit in the Astana format to discuss recent developments in Syria, the fight against terror groups which pose a threat to regional security, particularly the YPG/PKK and Daesh/ISIS, the humanitarian situation, and the voluntarily return of Syrians.

Attack in northern Iraq

On last week’s deadly attack in Duhok, Iraq, Erdogan said: "This once again showed us the PKK's true face."

Last week, nine people lost their lives and 23 were injured in an attack in the Zakho district of northern Iraq’s Duhok province. Turkish security sources denied reports "in support of the terrorist group PKK" blaming the attack on shelling by Turkish forces. Türkiye said that it did not carry out any attack against civilians in northern Iraq.

Erdogan added, "This is one of the normal moves of terrorist groups up to now,” saying the attack was meant to “disrupt positive developments between Türkiye and Iraq."

Ankara urged Iraqi government officials not to make statements "under the influence of the rhetoric and propaganda of the treacherous terrorist organization," meaning the PKK.

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