Turkey, Saudi Arabia hail 'new era of cooperation' as Crown Prince bin Salman visits Ankara

AFP , Thursday 23 Jun 2022

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman paid a visit to Turkey on Wednesday, where he held talks with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mohammed bin Salman
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shake hands during a welcome ceremony, in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, June 22, 2022. AP


It was the first visit by the crown prince to Turkey since the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate caused a rift between the two countries.

The talks in Ankara between bin Salman and Erdogan come one month before US President Joe Biden visits Riyadh for a regional summit. Those talks will focus on the energy crunch caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

President Erdogan's decision to revive ties with one of his biggest rivals is driven in large part by economics and trade.

Turks' living standards are imploding a year before a general election that poses one of the biggest challenges of Erdogan's mercurial two-decade rule.

But it is now drumming up investment and central bank assistance from the very countries it opposed on ideological grounds in the wake of the Arab Spring revolts.

The Turkish leader personally welcomed the crown prince at his presidential palace at a grand ceremony featuring a parade of horses and a military honour guard.

They then held a two-hour meeting and a private dinner but no media event.

A joint statement issued by their foreign ministers said the meeting was held "in an atmosphere of sincerity and brotherhood embodying the depth of excellent relations between the two countries".

It said the sides discussed Saudi investments but announced no concrete deals.

The kingdom's state media ended up releasing a picture of Erdogan hugging the crown prince, an image that created a furore in Turkey.

Ankara expects the mending of fences to help prop up the Turkish economy at a crucial stage of Erdogan's rule.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online

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