More than 30.2 million tons of grain have so far been transported by 951 ships as part of the Black Sea grain corridor deal, which Türkiye helped broker last year in a bid to avert a potential food crisis amid the Russia-Ukraine war, APA reports citing Anadolu.
The Joint Coordination Center (JCC) in Istanbul, which was established last July as a result of Türkiye's intense diplomatic efforts, serves to follow the safe transfer of grain to regions in need.
As a result of meetings between Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the relevant parties, in addition to the intensive work of the JCC, the first ship loaded with grain departed from the port city of Odesa on Aug. 1 last year.
The Sierra Leone-flagged dry cargo ship named Razoni, which was the first ship to leave Ukrainian ports within the scope of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, set sail for the Lebanese port of Tripoli with 26.000 tons of corn.
Within two weeks after the departure of Razoni, the number of ships leaving Ukrainian ports reached 25, with the amount of grain transported by the cargo ships and carriers exceeding 800,000 tons.
The grain deal included not only the departure of ships from Ukrainian ports but also the shipment of grain to Ukrainian ports from Istanbul.
Although grain shipments from the corridor continued, Russia announced its suspension of the deal in October following attacks on the Russian Black Sea Fleet at the port of Sevastopol.
Türkiye acted to prevent the further deepening of the crisis, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holding phone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy regarding the issue.
Akar also worked to keep the grain corridor open through contacts with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts, after which traffic through the corridor resumed.
The grain deal has been extended three times since it was first signed for a period of 120 days. The deal was first extended in November 2022 and then in March 2023.
The most recent extension was declared by Erdogan on Wednesday, who declared the deal was extended for another two months.