© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Turkey’s Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek speaks during the 66th General Assembly of Turkish Banks Association in Istanbul, Turkey August 17, 2023. REUTERS/Murad Sezer/File Photo
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ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s top economic policymakers are visiting Russia for meetings on Monday, a source said, travelling along with President Tayyip Erdogan who will meet Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin to discuss Black Sea (NYSE:SE) grain exports.
The source, a Turkish official who requested anonymity, said Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek and Hafize Gaye Erkan, the central bank governor, will attend meetings in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, where Erdogan is to meet Putin.
The travels of Simsek and Erkan – who were named to their roles in June to orchestrate a U-turn to more orthodox economic policies – had not been previously announced. It was unclear which officials they would meet and what would be discussed.
The central bank declined to comment.
When the leaders meet later on Monday, Erdogan aims to convince Putin to return to a Ukraine grain-export deal that helped ease a global food crisis. Moscow pulled out in July.
NATO member Turkey has close ties with both Moscow and Kyiv. It has opposed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine while also opposing Western sanctions on Moscow and has advanced economic cooperation with Russia since the invasion early last year.
Since June, Simsek and Erkan have moved to roll back regulations, partly free up the currency and launched an aggressive rate-hiking cycle. Simsek travelled to the UAE ahead of a $50-billion investment deal in July between Turkey and the Gulf state.