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Türkiye does 'very important work' getting grain out of Ukraine, is of great importance for Alliance: Stoltenberg

"Türkiye does a very important work in facilitating to get grain out from Ukraine," NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told an event organized by the Politico news outlet.

Agencies and A News ECONOMY
Published June 22,2022

Türkiye does "very important work" in facilitating getting the grain out from Ukraine, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

The remarks came in reaction to Ankara's diplomatic efforts to prevent the global food crisis by opening an export corridor for grain shipments that have been blocked by Russia at Black Sea ports.

Stoltenberg also talked about the NATO bid of Sweden and Finland, saying that different opinions were always voiced within the alliance, stressing that this was not surprising.

He said that it is natural that NATO countries have disagreements as they make part of an alliance of "30 different nations with different political parties in power, different history, different geography."

"Despite all the differences, the allies are in agreement on defending one another, which is the main issue," he said.

He acknowledged that Türkiye suffered the most terror attacks among NATO countries.

Türkiye is of "great importance for our Alliance since it is bordering Iraq and Syria" and it "has played and is still playing a key role in the fight against terrorism," Stoltenberg said.

"It also has an important role as a country of the Black Sea region. For instance, at the moment, it is doing a very important job to be able to get the food out of Ukraine."

He reiterated that the concerns of the country must be addressed. "And this is what we are doing right now."

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last month, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.

But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups, particularly the PKK terror group. In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people.