Saudi crown prince to visit Turkey in move to boost ties, Erdogan says

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a news conference during a visit to in Tirana, Albania, January 17, 2022 REUTERS/Florion Goga

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ISTANBUL, June 17 (Reuters) – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit Turkey on June 22, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, in another step towards reviving strained ties between the two regional powers.

In late April, Erdogan went to Saudi Arabia in what was the first high-level visit in years. It followed a months-long drive to mend relations, including dropping a trial over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018.

Erdogan said he would host Prince Mohammed at the presidential palace in Ankara next Wednesday and they would hold one-on-one talks as well discussions between delegations, in what he described as an official visit.

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“God willing we will have the opportunity to assess to what much higher level we can take Turkey-Saudi Arabia relations,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul.

The Saudi government did not immediately respond when asked to comment on Erdogan’s remarks.

During his visit to Saudia Arabia, Erdogan met King Salman and also had a one-on-one meeting with Prince Mohammed, the kingdom’s de facto ruler.

Turkey faces strong economic headwinds, with the lira having tumbled in value and inflation surging above 70%. Analysts say Saudi funding could help alleviate economic woes for Erdogan who faces presidential and parliamentary elections by June 2023.

Ties between the two countries were strained severely after a Saudi hit squad killed and dismembered Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

Erdogan said at the time that the “highest levels” of the Saudi government had given the orders. Ankara has since softened its tone sharply.

In April, Turkey halted its own trial of the Saudi suspects in the killing, transferring the case to Saudi Arabia in a move condemned by human rights groups.

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Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Aziz El Yaakoubi in Riyadh
Writing by Daren Butler
Editing by Tomasz Janowski

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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