Saudi Crown Prince visit to Turkey promises ‘full normalization’ between countries

i24NEWS - AFP/Reuters

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) welcoming Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman during an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on June 22, 2022.
AFP PHOTO /HANDOUT/TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICETurkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) welcoming Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman during an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on June 22, 2022.

The trip marks 'a new era' in relations with Ankara

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s historic visit to Turkey and his talks with President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday are expected to bring “full normalization” of the ties between the countries.

The Prince’s first trip outside the Gulf region in three years marks “a new era” in relations with Ankara that were damaged after the murder of a prominent journalist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, a senior Turkish official told Reuters. 

The talks took place at the presidential palace in Ankara. A two-hour meeting was followed by a private dinner but no media event. A joint statement issued by the 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 added the sides discussed Saudi investments but no concrete deals were revealed.

However, an anonymous official told Reuters the two countries had lifted restrictions on trade, flights and the screening of TV series, putting an end to mutual negative media coverage. Agreements on energy, economy and security would be signed during the visit, while a plan was also in the works for Saudi funds to enter capital markets in Turkey, according to the source.

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He added that the visit promises "a full normalization and a restoration of the pre-crisis period." Yet talks on a possible currency swap were not “moving as fast as desired.” The Turkish economy was recently hit by soaring inflation with Turkish lira approaching its historic lows and putting pressure on Ergodan’s government.

Earlier in April, Turkish leader held talks with Prince Mohammed in Saudi Arabia following an Istanbul court’s decision to end the trial against 26 suspects accused of involvement in Khashoggi’s killing and to transfer the case to Riyadh. The move was condemned by human rights groups. 

Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered at the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018. US intelligence officials have determined that Prince Mohammed approved the plot against the journalist, but Riyadh denied the accusations. Erdogan has also previously charged that the “highest levels” of Saudi leadership orchestrated the dissident’s death.

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