Latvia appreciates Türkiye's role in Ukraine grain deal

Ankara's work with Ukraine, Russia, UN to secure grain exports is ‘a remarkable achievement,’ Latvian foreign minister tells Anadolu Agency in exclusive interview.

Latvia appreciates Türkiye's role in Ukraine grain deal

Latvia has welcomed Türkiye's mediation role between Moscow and Kyiv to secure grain exports from Ukrainian ports, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said.  

"We appreciate the effort and the role that Türkiye has played to advance and to provide good offices to secure the grain deal," Rinkevics said in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency on Tuesday after having met with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in the capital Ankara.

"I think that what the Turkish government has done so far, working with Ukraine and with Russia and also partnering with the UN to secure grain exports to address the food security issue, is a remarkable achievement," he said.

He added that it is important that the deal is being implemented.

On July 22, Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed a deal in Istanbul to reopen three Ukrainian Black Sea ports for exporting Ukrainian grain stuck due to the Russia-Ukraine war, which is now in its sixth month.

To oversee the process, the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) in Istanbul was officially launched on July 27, comprising representatives from the three countries and the UN to enable the safe transportation of commercial foodstuffs and fertilizers by merchant ships.

Since the first departure on Aug. 1, a total of 25 ships carrying grain and wheat have left Ukrainian ports under the deal.

Rinkevics said that six months into the war between Russia and Ukraine, Latvians still have "huge emotional support" for Ukrainians.

"So from that point of view, we believe that we must do everything possible to support Ukraine. We do trust our NATO allies," he said, adding that NATO members do their best to secure Latvia against Russia.

"If Ukraine wins, we are more secure," he added.  

Ankara-Riga relations

Rinkevics said there is always room for improvement when it comes to trade relations between Türkiye and Latvia.

"There is huge interest in cooperation in the field of defense industries," he said, besides the areas of IT, tourism and traditional cooperation.

The minister said that Latvia is also interested in Türkiye-made Bayraktar TB2 drones.

"I know that there are Latvians who are collecting money also to buy Bayraktar drones and deliver them to Ukraine," he said, adding that the drones have been seen as a "very efficient means" of defense for the Ukrainian armed forces against the Russians.

Rinkevics said that Türkiye and Latvia can also cooperate in cyber defense and security against all kinds of attacks.