Erdogan to visit Saudi Arabia on Thursday: Turkish official

AFP , Tuesday 26 Apr 2022

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will fly to Saudi Arabia on Thursday, an official told AFP, in his first visit since Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi's killing in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate in 2018.

Erdogan   Mohammed bin Salman
File Photo: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, is seen shaking hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a meeting in Jeddah in 2017. AFP


The two-day trip comes after an Istanbul court this month ruled to halt the trial in absentia of 26 Saudi suspects linked to the gruesome killing, transferring the case to Saudi Arabia.

The 59-year-old journalist was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, in a grisly murder that shocked the world.

Turkey infuriated Riyadh by pressing ahead with an investigation into the murder, which Erdogan said was ordered at the "highest levels" of the Saudi government.

Ties between the two Sunni regional powers sharply deteriorated and Saudi Arabia unofficially tried to put pressure on Turkey's economy and boycott key Turkish imports.

The Istanbul trial was suspended during a new spell of economic turmoil in Turkey, which has suffered from soaring inflation and a spell of winter street protests that hurt Erdogan's popularity ahead of a general election next year.

Turkey is now drumming up financial support from energy-rich Gulf countries with which it has been at odds in the decade following the Arab Spring revolts.

Erdogan has already tried to improve ties with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which has agreed a new investment package for Turkey.

A Turkish official told AFP that Erdogan was not expected to make any formal announcement during his trip to Riyadh.

Erdogan was due to meet Saudi Arabia's King Salman, said the official, adding that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was likely to be in the delegation attending the talks.

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