There is a consensus on the establishment of headquarters in Istanbul on the planned "grain corridor" to be established to transport the grain-loaded vessels from Ukraine's Black Sea ports, the Turkish defense chief said on Thursday.
Responding to a question at the parliamentary complex in Ankara, Hulusi Akar delivered remarks on the Russia-Ukraine war, negotiations with the conflicting sides, and the sea corridor for the transport of grain.
In line with the diplomatic efforts initiated by the Turkish leadership, "serious progress" has been achieved in forming the corridor, Akar said, adding that talks are ongoing with the Ukrainian and Russian defense ministers.
"We are putting efforts at every level to ensure peace, tranquility, and cease-fire," he said, noting that the meeting of the Turkish delegation with the counterparts in Moscow on June 21 was "productive and constructive."
The talks are ongoing with the warring parties and the UN for establishing the grain corridor, he said.
Akar expressed his hopes that the two sides would be able to find a common ground to address the transfer of grain, saying the Turkish government will hold talks with both Ukraine and the UN to ensure further progress.
"We consider that concrete steps could be taken in the days ahead, and positive developments could take place," he said. "At this point, we see that the parties have a positive view of the matter. ... Our expectation is that the grain-laden vessels would leave the ports and arrive at their destination safely."
Asked if the Ukrainian administration sought some other actors to adopt the guarantor status, he said both sides are bearing many alternative scenarios in mind while taking action and Türkiye is acting as a facilitator that they genuinely trust.
More than 4,600 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the war began on Feb. 24.
Around 15 million people have been forced to flee their homes, with more than 8 million moving to neighboring countries, according to UN data./aa