| 27 February 2024, Tuesday |

Turkey’s Erdogan visits Saudi Arabia, tackles bilateral relations

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Saudi Arabia on Thursday for the first high-level visit in years, hoping to usher in a new era of relations following years of hard work to mend damaged ties.

Mecca’s Governor Prince Khalid al-Faisal greeted Erdogan at the airport in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, according to Saudi state news agency SPA.

Erdogan’s visit, which his office claimed was at the invitation of Saudi King Salman, is the climax of a months-long effort to heal relations, which includes the dismissal of a prosecution over the assassination of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018.

Turkey, in a policy reversal, suspended and moved its own trial of Saudi suspects in the assassination to Saudi Arabia last month, a move denounced by human rights groups.

The visit comes as Turkey deals with the economic ramifications of the conflict between its Black Sea neighbors, Ukraine and Russia.

Turkey’s economy has been struggling for years, and a lira crisis occurred in late 2021 as a result of Erdogan’s unconventional monetary policies, which propelled inflation beyond 60%.

Turkey wants Saudi Arabia to join a $28 billion currency swap network that already includes China, South Korea, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Officials said it is also interested in investments and contracts comparable to those signed with Abu Dhabi.

Erdogan’s visit is part of a larger charm drive to repair Turkey’s troubled relations around the region, especially with Egypt, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates.

  • Reuters