Name? Recep Erdoğan
Westphalian identity? Turkish
Why is he in the news? Turkish President Erdoğan successfully negotiated an UN-backed deal between Russia and Ukraine to allow the export of 22 million tonnes of grain from Russian blockaded Ukrainian ports. UN Secretary Guterres called the signing a “beacon of hope” after repeatedly warning of the food security consequences of the war between the world’s largest and fifth largest grain producers.
Why do we care? Because of Erdoğan’s key role. During last week’s meeting with Putin in Tehran, he laid the final groundwork and can now add another foreign policy win to his CV after the NATO summit in Madrid last month. Furthermore, we would like to highlight the importance of diplomatic sit downs and the danger of demonising the other side. Erdoğan is often criticised in the West for being so close to Putin, but aside from his sovereign right to do so, their personal relationship was vital in these negotiations!
Why should you care? Ukraine’s new harvest is on its way to silos while the old one is not yet shipped out. Meanwhile, food prices have risen by 187% in Sudan, 86% in Syria and 60% in Yemen compared to the same time period last year. You should care 10/10 about an easing of this tense situation thanks to this deal.
Who else cares? Egyptian President el-Sisi. He represents all countries in desperate need of grain imports and now finally receiving what their people need.
Any further comments? Only hours after the signing of this deal, Russia launched a missile attack on Ukraine’s critical grain-exporting port of Odesa. And one day after the agreement Russia changed its official communication on the war in Ukraine from “liberating the Donbas” to “help the Ukrainian people to free themselves from the regime” and that “the Russian and Ukrainian people will live together in the future”… what a way to end that weekend of diplomacy …