Erdogan to visit Saudi amid shift in Kingdom's regional priorities

Alia Soliman , Saturday 28 Feb 2015

A major cause of tension between the two nations is Turkey's support of the Muslim Brotherhood which is outlawed in Saudi Arabia

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan addresses the provincial governors of Turkey during a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Ankara February 27, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to arrive in Saudi Arabia on Saturday for an official visit that aims to bridge gaps between the two countries, according to Ahram Arabic news website.

During the three day visit, King Salman and Erdogan are set to hold talks on ways to develop bilateral relations between the two countries, a statement issued by the Turkish presidency said on Friday.

Saudi Arabia's newly enthroned King Salman and Erdogan are to exchange views on the latest regional and international developments.

Turkish news website Today's Zaman said that there are intersecting issues for Saudi Arabia and Turkey that need to be discussed.

The stemming of the rise of militant Islamist groups that threaten the stability of the Middle East is among the issues that both countries need to discuss, according to Zaman.

Both Saudi Arabia and Turkey  support the US-led strikes on the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, despite differences in emphasies.

One point of contention between Turkey and Saudi Arabia is Ankara's support of the Muslim Brotherhood which is banned by Riyadh.

Turkey is a strong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood which was recently outlawed in Egypt and other Gulf countries.

Sources told Ahram Online that the Saudi monarchy "is considering shifting its regional priorities and that Riyadh is sending positive signals of a political will to rebuild bridges between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, to attend to three key regional concerns."

Citing informed European diplomats , the source continued to say the concerns include "The continued unrest in Syria, the rise of radical-militant political Islam, and the anticipated diplomatic resurrection of Iran, following an expected deal this year between Tehran and key Western capitals over Iran’s nuclear program.”


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