Turkey’s efforts to mediate between Russia and Ukraine over the Black Sea grain deal have failed, as Moscow announced its withdrawal from the agreement on July 17.
The deal, which was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July 2022, allowed Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea, bypassing the Russian blockade of its ports. The deal was seen as a humanitarian gesture to ease the global food crisis and a diplomatic achievement for Turkey, which has close ties with both Russia and Ukraine.
However, Russia accused Ukraine of violating the deal by attacking its naval base in Sevastopol and laying mines in the Black Sea. Ukraine denied the allegations and blamed Russia for escalating the conflict and sabotaging the grain deal. Russia also claimed that the deal did not benefit the poorest countries, as most of the Ukrainian grain went to middle-income countries or was bought by the World Food Programme.
Turkey has expressed its disappointment and frustration over the failure of the deal, which it had hoped would improve its relations with both sides and enhance its regional influence.
The Black Sea grain deal was one of the few examples of cooperation between Russia and Ukraine since the war started in 2014.
It also showed Turkey’s failure as a potential mediator. However, its collapse has exposed the fragility of trust and dialogue between the parties, as well as Turkey’s limitations in balancing its interests and alliances.