Saudi crown prince to visit Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Jordan, Egypt

i24NEWS

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 14, 2021.
Bandar Aljaloud/Saudi Royal Palace via APSaudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 14, 2021.

It will be the leader's first trip outside the Gulf region since the killing of Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is planning a tour of Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Jordan and Egypt where he will discuss regional and international issues and sign agreements in the fields of energy and trade, Reuters reported Monday.

It will be the leader's first trip outside the Gulf region since the 2018 murder of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. He had, however, attended the G20 summit in Japan in 2019.

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Saudi officials have not yet set a timetable, but according to sources cited by the news agency, the trip should take place as soon as early June.

The American news agency Bloomberg for its part specified that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan invited the crown prince, citing two Turkish officials.

The two leaders had already met at the end of April in Jeddah, while Erdoğan is trying to improve relations, particularly with Saudi Arabia, in order to stimulate trade and attract foreign investments by oil exporters to support his country's economy. 

Inflation in Turkey has hit a two-decade high of 70 percent, threatening to undermine support for the Turkish leader and his party ahead of elections scheduled for next year.

Erdoğan's support for Islamist groups during the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings had fueled years of animosity with Gulf Arab leaders.

Ankara and Riyadh have since signed a $4.74 billion currency swap last January, giving the Turkish lira a much-needed boost. 

Turkey also wants Saudi Arabia to end an unofficial boycott of goods from the country after shipments to the kingdom plummeted in late 2020. 

Last year, Turkish exports amounted to just over $200 million, compared to around $3.2 billion in 2019, according to official Turkish data.

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