Turkish President Erdogan says Ankara will contribute to sending free grain to African countries in need as the landmark Ukraine deal is extended by another four months.

President Erdogan gave a wide-ranging interview to journalists on his flight back from the G20 summit in Bali.
President Erdogan gave a wide-ranging interview to journalists on his flight back from the G20 summit in Bali. (AA)

Amid soaring food prices, Türkiye has spoken with Russia about sending grain to several African countries free of charge, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

"The most important topic Mr (President Vladimir) Putin brought up was sending this grain to African countries free of charge, to countries such as Mali, Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia," Erdogan told Turkish journalists on Thursday on his flight back from the G20 summit in Bali.

"We will also contribute to its free delivery," Erdogan said he told Putin.

He also said that during their own meeting in Bali, US President Joe Biden thanked him for Türkiye's role in starting and continuing the landmark grain corridor deal.

On July 22, Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which had been paused in February due to Russia's offensive on Ukraine.

Days before its scheduled expiration, on Thursday the landmark Black Sea grain deal has been extended for another 120 days.

More than 10 million tonnes of grain have been exported from Ukraine since August 1, according to the UN.

On recent US-Russian intelligence talks in Türkiye, the president said according to what he learned, neither side "will make attempts involving nuclear weapons,” addressing a major international concern.

"Of course, we want to keep them in close contact, let them meet frequently," he added.

On proposed F-16 sales to Türkiye, Erdogan said that Biden told him that he is "sensitive on the issue of F-16 jet sales," adding that Ankara will continue work on the issue.

READ MORE: Agreement reached to extend Black Sea grain deal by four months: Kiev

 'Türkiye will not face energy problems'

Türkiye will not face energy problems, Erdogan said, adding that there are countries that say "we can support" Türkiye on energy.

"We will be in a much better position. And we can easily start exporting energy. In the meantime, there are countries that say to us, 'We can support you in terms of energy as well'," he said, referring to the upcoming Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant that will enable the country to supply electricity to neighbouring countries.

Türkiye could become an energy hub in the near future, he added.

Many European nations have imposed energy conservation measures in preparation for possible shortages this winter.

On Türkiye's relations with countries it has difficulties with, he said that Ankara can reconsider relations with them, adding there is "no eternal resentment" in politics.

"When the time comes, you sit down, evaluate it, and you can make a renewal accordingly. At the moment, Türkiye can reconsider relations with countries we have difficulties in these matters with," he said. "Especially after the (general) election (next) June, we can make a fresh start."

He also said that in his meeting with new Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on the sidelines of the G-20, Meloni expressed the will to solve problems on Türkiye’s possible acquisition of the SAMP/T air defence system project.

"There are some technical problems left, let's solve them and solve the SAMP/T issue in France, Italy, Türkiye, in a short time," Erdogan quoted Meloni as saying.

READ MORE: US, Russian intelligence chiefs meet in Türkiye

F16 issue

President Erdogan offered an insight into his meeting with his US counterpart, on the sidelines of the summit.

Erdogan said President Biden thanked him for Türkiye's role in the grain deal.

He also added that F-16 issue is in Biden's hands, saying that he hopped to resolve F-16 issue as soon as possible.

Erdogan also spoke on Russia and US intelligence chiefs meeting in Ankara, saying that Türkiye seeks to bring the two countries closer. 

"Nobody should be given the opportunity to use nuclear weapons" he added.

READ MORE: Erdogan meets with US, France and Saudi Arabia leaders at G20 Summit

READ MORE: Türkiye’s Erdogan urges world action to avert bigger food crisis in 2023

Source: TRTWorld and agencies