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Erdogan, Putin and the grain

Ердоган, Путин и зърното
Hours ahead of the upcoming meeting in Sochi between the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, markets remain awaiting the outcome of the Black Sea Corridor.

The real question is whether there will be one at all, and to what extent it matters to the negotiating parties. For Russia, the possible deal would ease exports from the country, and for Turkey it is an opportunity with a clear economic effect. But even without a deal, both sides have their Plan B, as evidenced by recent events.

Another Russian attack last night on the port infrastructure in Ismail weakens more and more the role of Ukraine as a factor in the international grain markets, while Turkey implements a project with which it will provide more than 35% of the grain needs of its country.

Late last week, Turkish media reported that the new Mardin-Ceylanpanar Canal from the Atatürk Dam in Şanlıurfa to Mardin in southeastern Turkey began supplying vital water to nearly 506,000 acres of farmland.

With its length of 221 kilometers, it is the longest man-made river in the world, surpassing the length of the Suez Canal and three times the length of the Panama Canal.

"It is a historic event that water from the Euphrates River will meet the fertile lands of upper Mesopotamia," Dursun Yıldız, head of the Water Policy Association, told local media.

According to Mehmet Şerif Yoter, head of the Kızıltepe Grain Trading Center, the canal will create jobs for approximately 300,000 people.

“The canal will irrigate these lands and they will feed the entire nation. It will satisfy 35% of the country's grain needs. The project will breathe new life into the region," Yoter added.

“Currently we harvest twice a year. With the canal, in some areas, three harvests per year will be possible. The Mardin plain is currently responsible for 20% of the country's needs for wheat and legumes. Once the canal is fully operational, the region will provide at least 35% of our country's needs. If manufacturing flourishes, our external dependence will decrease," he concluded.

All this suggests that the dialogue in Sochi will have a pragmatic character for both sides and will hardly lead to the "permanent solution of the issue" so longed for by Europe. And how could the situation be different, since only Turkey is ready to sit at the negotiating table against Russia?

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