The Road to Peace on the Moscow-Kyiv Line: The Grain Corridor

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There are two important problems caused by the Russia-Ukraine War, which started on February 24, 2022, at the global level. These can be expressed as the energy issue and the food crisis. While Western states are currently searching for an alternative to Russian natural gas, the “Grain Corridor” formula, which emerged under the leadership of Türkiye, can be described as an important success in overcoming the food crisis that is likely to occur and preventing its devastating consequences. Because it was expected that a major food crisis would affect global markets starting from December 2022. As a matter of fact, even in the current situation, the increase in food prices indicated that a great depression had begun.

Undoubtedly, this situation was due to the deterioration in global supply chains due to the war between Ukraine and Russia, which are among the most important grain producers in the world, and the deepening of the problems was seen as inevitable. Therefore, a much more severe picture would be encountered before the damage caused by the Covid-19 epidemic on global supply chains could be eliminated, and unemployment and inflation rates would increase all over the world. Undoubtedly, this scenario could also lead to an acceleration of migration movements, as it would cause a much more severe situation in African countries, which already have difficulties in accessing food, which is one of the basic human needs. In this sense, it is possible to say that Türkiye’s mediation diplomacy, which aims to develop proactive policies in the face of crises, bore fruit through the “Grain Corridor”.

Thanks to the said agreement, the export of 25 million tons of grain waiting in Ukrainian ports has been paved. According to this, the security of the passage of ships in the ports in question through the Black Sea and the Bosphorus will be ensured, and a common security center will be established in Istanbul in order not to sabotage the process by an actor.[1]

In this context, the agreement signed in Istanbul on July 22, 2022 seems to have opened the way to peace. It is also possible to understand the importance of the agreement from the participation of United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the signing ceremony and the statements he made about the corridor. The UN Secretary-General emphasized that the light of hope had emerged in the Black Sea and said, “The world needed this more than ever before”[2]and thanked Türkiye for its efforts to achieve reconciliation.[3]

As it can be understood, Ankara’s diplomatic efforts to achieve peace are appreciated by the whole world. Because Türkiye is the main country that has succeeded in bringing the warring parties together since May 2022 through both the Antalya Diplomacy Forum and the Istanbul Summit. Therefore, it is very important that Istanbul is once again the first place where Russian and Ukrainian delegations met face to face on July 13, 2022, months later.

While in the statement made by the United States of America (USA) due to the corridor that led to increased hopes for peace, it was said, “The United States welcomes this step,” and thanked the UN and Türkiye for their diplomatic leadership in the conclusion of this agreement,[4]in the text published from the office of the European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, “The current agreement provides an opportunity to reverse this negative trend… We commend Türkiye for its important role in mediating this agreement and supporting its implementation” statements are included. In addition, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss commented, “We applaud Türkiye and the UN Secretary-General for their efforts in reaching this agreement.”

At this point, it is necessary to mention the reasons for Türkiye’s success in bringing actors together. On the one hand, while Türkiye, which is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and therefore located in the Western World, has a clear stance on the territorial integrity of Ukraine and does not recognize the annexation of Crimea in violation of international law, expressing it openly on every platform gives confidence to the Kyiv administration, on the other hand, Türkiye’s successful processes with Russia in conflict areas such as the Astana Process and the Karabakh Conflict have also made Moscow warm to Ankara’s mediation. Because of this, Türkiye came to the forefront as the only actor trusted by both sides during the Russia-Ukraine War, and this allowed Istanbul to become the central address of mediation.

Another point that needs to be mentioned is that the justification of the “The World is Bigger Than 5” statement that Türkiye uses in her criticisms of the UN is confirmed through the “Grain Corridor”. Because the UN’s need for Türkiye to prevent the food crisis that all humanity and especially the oppressed nations will face severely, has revealed that the system can actually be formulated as “5+1”.

More importantly, the main issue that the UN has been heavily criticized for many years is the organization’s ineffectiveness in the face of crises. In this sense, the recent past is full of dozens of examples of crises in which the UN is incapable of finding a solution. However, the fact that Türkiye has begun to overcome its position as a medium-sized regional power in the international system, is preparing to position itself as a pole in the world evolving into multipolarity, and accordingly, showing great power reflexes based on its historical references, has opened the door for the UN to carry out conflict processes more successfully. In other words, while Ankara increases its influence in international politics, it does not implement ambitious and imperialist policies, on the contrary, it is positioned as a “peace maker” actor, and this brings Türkiye to become “the balancer of the imbalance in the system”.[5]

In line with all this information, it can be stated that the Russia-Ukraine War increased Türkiye’s geopolitical importance not only in terms of military security and power balances in the Black Sea, but also in terms of overcoming the food crisis by eliminating the damage in the global supply chain and even in terms of the future of the international system. For this reason, it is possible that the cyclical problems in Türkiye-West relations will be replaced by a more constructive atmosphere. Because the developments once again reveal the need of the West for Türkiye.

Moreover, thanks to the “Grain Corridor”, the resumption of contacts between Russia and Ukraine after months makes it possible to interpret this corridor as a route to peace. Therefore, it can be predicted that the contacts between the parties will increase in the future. Of course, if ceasefire and peace talks start, it is likely that Istanbul will be the natural address of the mediation processes to be carried out.

As a result, Türkiye has undertaken a constructive role in overcoming the food crisis that awaits the world and has succeeded in finding a concrete solution. Thus, Ankara offered the UN, which was criticized for its inadequacy in the face of crises, an opportunity to correct its image. Of course, this situation not only showed the importance of Türkiye in the eyes of the West once again, but also prevented a crisis in which oppressed nations would face harsh conditions. In addition, the ”Grain Corridor” has also opened the way to peace, confirming the confidence of the warring parties in Ankara. This can be described as a harbinger that the mediation diplomacy conducted by Türkiye in the context of the Russia-Ukraine War will continue increasingly.

[1] “Türkiye Tahıl Koridoru Anlaşmasında Uygulamanın da Kalbi Oluyor”, TRT Haber,, (Date of Accession: 23.07.2022).

[2] “Tahıl Koridoru Anlaşması İmzalandı: Gemilerin Karadeniz’den Geçişi Nasıl Sağlanacak?”, BBC Türkçe,, (Date of Accession: 23.07.2022).

[3] Aynı yer.

[4] “Tahıl Krizi İstanbul’da Çözüldü, Türkiye’ye Tebrik Yağdı”, TRT Haber,, (Date of Accession: 23.07.2022).

[5] “Tahıl Krizine İstanbul İmzası/Türkiye’nin Diplomasi Zaferi…”, Youtube,, (Date of Accession: 23.07.2022).

Dr. Doğacan BAŞARAN
Dr. Doğacan BAŞARAN, 2014 yılında Gazi Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2017 yılında Giresun Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda sunduğu ‘’Uluslararası Güç İlişkileri Bağlamında İkinci Dünya Savaşı Sonrası Hegemonik Mücadelelerin İncelenmesi’’ başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Doktora derecesini ise 2021 yılında Trakya Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı‘nda hazırladığı “İmparatorluk Düşüncesinin İran Dış Politikasına Yansımaları ve Milliyetçilik” başlıklı teziyle alan Başaran’ın başlıca çalışma alanları Uluslararası ilişkiler kuramları, Amerikan dış politikası, İran araştırmaları ve Afganistan çalışmalarıdır. Başaran iyi derecede İngilizce ve temel düzeyde Farsça bilmektedir.