Turkey's Erdogan issues fresh ultimatum to Europe in Black Sea grain row as he BACKS Putin

The president added that Putin was right in his claim yesterday that grains exported from Ukraine under a UN-backed deal have gone to wealthy EU countries, not poor ones.

This claim has since been proven inaccurate.

Speaking at a news conference with Croatian president Zoran Milanović, Mr Erdoğan said today that Putin was uncomfortable with the grains being sent to countries that sanction Russia.

This follows Putin’s suggestion that Ukrainian grain exports could be limited.

Speaking at an assembly of the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia, Putin said: “We should probably think about limiting the destinations for grain exports, and I’m going to discuss that with Mr Erdoğan, president of Turkey, because it was he and I who came up with this plan.”

He falsely accused the EU of failing to send grain to developing countries.

The dictator said: “Excluding Turkey as the mediator country, almost all the grain exported from Ukraine is flowing not to the poorest countries, but into the European Union.”

Putin went on to explain this accusation by saying that of the 87 ships sailing under the Black Sea deal, only two were sent to developing countries.

The Russian leader accused the West of “deceiving developing countries.”

He said: “We need to help the poorest countries first and foremost. This is not what is happening right now. And I can tell you that this situation is the outcome of reckless action pursued by the elites of the U.S., U.K. and EU who are labouring under political delusion.”

But UN data disproves the allegation by Putin, which Mr Erdoğan has now backed. 

According to its data, more than 20 vessels are heading to developing and least-developed countries (excluding those heading to Turkey).

Six ships have Egypt as their final destinations, while others are heading to Djibouti, Yemen and Sudan.

The false claims come as part of Putin’s scheme to appeal to improve Russian diplomacy with developing countries after his relationship with the West was obliterated by the invasion of Ukraine. 

The Kremlin has attempted to push the narrative that the rise in food prices is the result of Western sanctions following the war, and not due to the invasion itself. 

Mr Erdoğan’s move to support Russian propaganda comes a day after he accused the West of provoking Russia.

In a press conference alongside his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vučić in Belgrade, Erdoğan said: “I can clearly say that I do not find the attitude of the West [toward Russia] right,” adding that there was a “policy based on provocation.”

The Turkish president also said he doesn’t think the war in Ukraine will end “anytime soon,” and urged countries not to “underestimate Russia.”

Turkey has attempted to present itself as a neutral party in the invasion of Ukraine, hosting talks with both Kyiv and the Kremlin. 

It also helped to negotiate the grain deal to assure the safe export of grain out of blockaded Ukrainian ports.

However, its strong ties to Russia remain. 

Ankara has increased its trade with Russia, Turkish banks have adopted a Russian payments system and Turkey has reportedly doubled its imports of Russian oil this year.

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