Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan R welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud in Ankara, Turkey, on June 22, 2022.
Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua via Getty Images
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has visited Turkey for the first time in years, marking a rapprochement between two of the wider region’s most important political, military and economic players after a period of strained relations.
Ties between the two countries were all but severed following the murder of of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the time accused the Saudi prince of orchestrating the murder, something he and his government have strongly denied.
Since 2020, an informal boycott on Turkish goods in Saudi Arabia has been in place, and the kingdom for a period barred travel and flights into Turkey.
The crown prince and Erdogan are now aiming to fully normalize their relationship. A joint statement issued following the leaders’ talks detailed a new period of bilateral ties, including the removal of trade restrictions, more scheduled talks and a possible currency swap.
This comes as Turkey faces an economic crisis, with inflation at a record high of more than 70% and a severely depreciated currency. The Turkish lira has lost more than half of its value in the last year.
‘End its regional isolation’
“We should read this rapprochement as part of a broader normalization effort by Turkey with countries in the region” which it has been on bad terms, Pinar Dost, deputy director at the Atlantic Council in Turkey, told CNBC’s Dan Murphy on Thursday. In addition to Saudi Arabia, Erdogan has made efforts to normalize ties with the United Arab Emirates and Israel, and talks with Egypt are also reportedly progressing.
“First of all Turkey would like to end its regional isolation; the country suffered greatly from being isolated,” in areas like the Eastern Mediterranean,…
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