Turkey’s Erdogan hosts Zelenskyy and says Ukraine deserves membership in NATO

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asserted his support for Ukraine’s NATO membership while hosting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Key statements: During a joint press conference with President Zelenskyy, Erdogan stated that Ukraine is deserving of NATO membership.
* Erdogan’s approval comes amidst Turkey’s hesitation in giving final approval for Sweden’s entry into NATO, citing concern over insufficient actions against Kurdish militants.
* It’s expected that during a meeting in Vilnius next week, NATO leaders will confirm that Ukraine will one day join their alliance.

Ongoing negotiations: Erdogan disclosed that Turkey is seeking to extend a Turkish and U.N.-brokered grain deal to continue the shipment of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.
* This deal, which has reduced growing global food prices, is due to expire on July 17. Russia has shown reluctance to extend the deal, highlighting barriers to its own food and fertilizer exports.

Accusations and future talks: Zelenskyy blamed Russia for hindering the movement of ships, accusing it of controlling the entire Black Sea.
* Erdogan announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Turkey in August, where it is hoped they’ll discuss renewal of the Black Sea grain deal and possibly a prisoner swap.
* Turkey has kept close ties to both Ukraine and Russia, leveraging these relationships to act as a mediator.

View original article on NPR

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