Why Turkey Ignores Missile Strikes on the Odesa Port and Illegal Trade of Ukrainian Grain

Monday, 25 July 2022

Turkish Minister of defense, Hulusi Akar, immediately after the missile attacks on the port of Odesa, justified Russia, saying they had nothing to do with it.

This exact Minister, at a solemn ceremony in Istanbul just the day before, in the presence of the Turkish President and the UN Secretary-General, signed the deal that should ensure the safe passage of grain exports from Ukraine.

The "grain deal" has become an unconditional diplomatic victory for Ankara. Trade routes in the Black Sea and logistics corridors to the Global South are laid on the shores of the Bosphorus, and Turkey plays a leading role in these processes.

Obviously, Moscow was not happy with such a success. The next day after signing the deal, the Russian leadership destroyed not only the water pumping station in the port of Odesa but also the reputation of the Turkish president with four Kalibr missiles.

Although the deal was signed under UN auspices, it became possible thanks to months of "pendulous" foreign policy by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan between Ukraine and Russia.

According to the deal, the vessels that cross the Black Sea towards Turkey's Bosphorus strait would be closely monitored by a joint coordination centre in Istanbul, containing representatives from the UN, Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey.

If all parties adhered to the obligations, the Turkish leadership would have much to celebrate.

However, Russia's cynical strike on the Ukrainian port infrastructure, which security was supposed to be guaranteed by Turkey, questioned the future of the deal itself and Turkey's reliability as a partner.

Ankara, to which key NATO partners, led by the United States, expressed gratitude back in March for their constructive position on Ukraine, now finds itself in the company of Armenia, Nicaragua, China, and Tajikistan.

The desire to "avoid Russia's isolation" turned out to be so strong that already in July, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) included Turkey in the list of 18 countries helping Russia systemically evade the unprecedented sanctions.

Finally, Turkey helps illegally sell stolen Ukrainian grain, which Russia sends from the occupied territories of Ukraine to Syria and Turkey.

In Turkey, there is a general consensus among all political forces that Russia cannot be trusted but must be cooperated with. The majority of the population shares the same opinion.

But the country's dependence on Russian gas is no less than that in the EU. And inflation reached a record of 80% (according to unofficial data - 120%), setting a record for 25 years.

Turkey seeks to stabilize international markets and ease social and economic pressures in the regions most affected by the food crisis. They want to avoid new waves of forced migrants from the Middle East and Africa.

Russian blackmail by Syrian refugees has not been canceled either.

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