President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Türkiye aims to bring Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy together to resolve the crisis.

Erdogan said everyone can witness that Türkiye has made every effort to ensure peace between Russia and Ukraine.
Erdogan said everyone can witness that Türkiye has made every effort to ensure peace between Russia and Ukraine. (AA)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said grain exports from Ukrainian ports to the world are critical for humanity, as Türkiye announces more than 721,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain have been delivered to global markets so far.

"Even the start of sending Ukrainian grain to the world through our country is a critical development for humanity," Erdogan said after a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara on Monday.

He said everyone can witness that Türkiye has made every effort to ensure peace between Russia and Ukraine.

"Our aim is to bring together (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelenskyy in our country, hopefully in the not-too-distant future,” to resolve the crisis, he added.

Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul on July 22 to resume grain exports from the Ukrainian Black Sea ports of Pivdennyi, Chornomorsk and Odessa, which were halted due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, now in its sixth month.

Also announcing his three-nation Balkan tour scheduled for the first week of September, Erdogan said on Monday that Türkiye pays "special importance" to the Balkans.

READ MORE: Erdogan's diplomacy makes Türkiye indispensable on Int'l stage – Le Figaro

Over 721,000 tonnes of grain exported

Earlier on Monday, Türkiye's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said since the first ship left Ukraine under the Istanbul grain export deal, more than 721,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain have been delivered to world markets.

"As of this morning, the amount of grain leaving the Ukrainian ports was 721,449 tonnes. This continues. Hopefully, the amount will increase in the coming days," Akar told military commanders during a video conference in the capital Ankara.

Akar added the efforts continue to ensure that shipments reach their final destinations as quickly and safely as possible.

A Joint Coordination Center (JCC) with officials from the three countries and the UN has been set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments.

READ MORE: Türkiye: Two more grain ships leave Ukraine

Türkiye's new drillship

In addition, Erdogan on Monday said Türkiye's fourth drillship Abdulhamid Han is the symbol of the will to defend the country's interests in the Mediterranean.

"We believe that we will crown our joy of 540 billion cubic metres of natural gas that we discovered in the Black Sea with more good news," he added.

On July 17, Abdulhamid Han started drilling in the Yorukler-1 well in the Mediterranean.

The country discovered 540 billion cubic metres of natural gas in the Black Sea. Türkiye's other ships, Fatih, Yavuz, and Kanuni, continue drilling operations in the Black Sea.

READ MORE: Black Sea natural gas will be ready for use next Spring: Türkiye

Source: AA