Sochi: no new grain deal for now

Talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on resuming the deal brokered by Turkey and the UN on exports of Ukrainian grain have failed. The West must first lift its sanctions on trade in Russian agricultural products, Putin said after the meeting in Sochi. Commentators voice disappointment.

La Repubblica (IT) /

The wrong negotiating partner

Erdoğan was hoping for a success that was out of his reach, La Repubblica comments:

“The fact that he didn’t succeed did not come as a surprise to the Russian press and commentators, who all stressed that he couldn’t be the one to give Putin what he wants. Moscow insists that the United Nations must honour the agreement to facilitate the export of agricultural products and fertilisers, restore access to the Swift payment system for the Russian Agricultural Bank Rosselkhozbank, and allow the resumption of ammonia deliveries via the Togliatti-Odessa pipeline, which was blown up in recent months. However, most of these demands can only be met by Western countries.”

Rosalba Castelletti
Hürriyet (TR) /

No prospect of peace

Hürriyet columnist Abdulkadir Selvi is disappointed:

“The grain corridor was the main focus. ... President Erdoğan spoke clearly about it. ... He didn’t say whether he was successful or not, but that finding a solution would take time. At the press conference Erdoğan was asked: ‘Have you come with a proposal for a ceasefire?’ ... Putin replied first, and thanked Erdoğan for his mediation efforts. But there were no strong statements that gave the green light for a short-term ceasefire or talks with Ukraine. After watching Putin, my hopes for a ceasefire or peace in the near future faded. This war will go on for a long time.”

Abdulkadir Selvi
Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Two weak strongmen

The Süddeutsche Zeitung looks at what the two leaders have in common:

“The main thing Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin have in common is that they spend all their time managing their own problems, which they themselves have caused. In Putin’s case, there is no need to go into details about the catastrophe into which he has plunged Ukraine and the world. ... Erdoğan needs to solve the problem of the almost four million Syrian refugees in Turkey, where he is also under political pressure. To do that he will have to talk to the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, whom he has avoided for years. And for that, he needs mediation from Moscow, from Vladimir Putin. Two strongmen who are weak.”

Raphael Geiger