Russian-Turkish dispute over wheat supplies continues


The dispute over Russian-Turkish wheat supplies flared up with renewed vigor, as it emerged that Ankara has imposed restrictions on imports of Russian wheat.

Turkish exporters have decided to limit the import of agricultural products from Russia, said Zekeriya Mete, a member of the governing Council of the Association of exporters of Istanbul.

"We shred the quotas among countries. We want to make us safe – if there are some problems in relations with a country, we will not lose everything. The decision to limit the import of Russian agricultural products to 20 – 25 percent was made by our organization, not the Economy Ministry. We are making decision while the Economy Ministry accepts or does not accept them," Mete explained, Trend reported on May 25.

Earlier, Russian Vedomosti newspaper reported that this relates to licenses for the supply of wheat in the “internal processing” mode.  Such a license allows delivering grain to the country without duty for processing and further export, explains one of the traders. This regime operates in Turkey for all countries for protecting the domestic market.

Meanwhile, Turkey's Economy Ministry denied allegations, announcing that Ankara follows an agreement with Moscow on lifting trade restrictions.

"Despite the positive atmosphere and positive steps in the political and economic relations between Russia and Turkey, some media publish news about the restriction of imports of agricultural products from Russia, which do not correspond to reality,” the ministry said on May 25, adding that Turkey continues to adhere to the agreements reached with Russia.

Moscow is in talks with Ankara in an effort to resolve an agriculture trade dispute between the countries, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on May 24.

Turkey has introduced new curbs on Russian wheat, limiting purchases to 20-25 percent of all import licenses issued for the commodity, confirmed Peskov.

Russia's Agriculture Ministry later announced that Turkey had so far sent no official notification of the restrictions.

Many restrictions have been recently removed in accordance with agreements reached with Russia following the results of the talks between Turkish Prime minister Binali Yildirim and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Istanbul.

The declaration, signed in Istanbul by Deputy Premier Mehmet Simsek and Russian Deputy Premier Arkady Dvorkovich, aims at normalizing and developing economies, and enhancing the current trade volume between Russia and Turkey.

The Russian-Turkish trade has been facing significant difficulties since 2016 when Russia introduced a food embargo against Turkey in response to the downing of a Russian warplane over Syria.

For Ankara, Moscow is a strategic supplier of agricultural products. In recent years, 70-75 percent of the flour in Turkey was produced from Russian wheat. In turn, Russia delivers 12-13 percent of exported wheat to Turkey.


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