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Zelensky to meet with Erdoğan in İstanbul on Friday: reports

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will visit İstanbul on Friday for talks with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Agence France-Presse reported, citing Turkish media.

The meeting is expected to focus on an expiring deal to ship Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea as well as next week’s NATO summit, the reports said.

Analysts expect Zelensky to push Erdoğan to give a green light for Sweden’s membership in NATO ahead of the July 11-12 alliance summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.

Turkey is blocking Sweden’s candidacy because of a longstanding dispute about Stockholm’s allegedly lax attitude toward Kurdish militants and political dissidents living within its borders.

Both Zelensky and Erdoğan also want to extend a deal with Russia under which Ukraine has been allowed to ship its corn and other grains to global markets during the war.

Erdoğan has tried to use his good working relations with both Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin to try and mediate an end to the war.

Turkey staged two early rounds of peace negotiations and is pushing for more talks.

But Western governments worry about NATO member Turkey’s growing economic ties with Russia and its resistance to the bloc’s expansion.

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