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Turkish President Arrives in Saudi Arabia, Meets the King

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan landed in Saudi Arabia on a historic visit. The President met Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) on April 28.  The Turkish leader is visiting the kingdom to normalize ties between Ankara and Riyadh.

The Saudi King welcomed Erdoğan at the Al-Salam Royal Palace in Jeddah. The two leaders then held a closed-door meeting. This meeting was the first meeting between Turkish and Saudi leadership in the past five years.

President Erdoğan then met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Erdoğan is on a two-day working visit to the kingdom.  The Turkish president landed at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah. The emir of the Mecca region Khalid Al-Faisal welcomed the president. To welcome the Turkish leader, the Turkish Ambassador in Riyadh Fatih Ulusoy, and Turkey’s permanent representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Mehmet Metin Eker were also present at the airport.

The Turkish president’s entourage comprises the first lady Emine Erdoğan, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, and Treasury and Finance Minister Nurettin Nebati.

Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Commerce Minister Mehmet Muş, Deputy Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Binali Yildirim, head of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Hakan Fidan, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun and Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın are also accompanying the president.

There was much speculation about the President’s visit to the Kingdom. Before his departure to Saudi Arabia, the president said Turkiye and Saudi Arabia will start a “new era” to boost bilateral ties.

Erdoğan speaking to the media at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport said “My visit (to Saudi Arabia) is the manifestation of our common will to start a new era of cooperation as two brotherly countries.”

“It is in our common interest to increase our cooperation with Saudi Arabia in fields such as health, energy, food security, agricultural technologies, defence industry, and finance,” the Turkish president added.

Erdoğan while interacting with the media also said that his country seeks to ensure regional peace and resolve problems through dialogue and diplomacy.

Apart from discussing bilateral affairs, the president confirmed that regional and international developments will also be on the agenda during his visit. 

Before leaving for Jeddah the Turkish leader condemned recent drone and missile attacks targeting Saudi Arabia. Ties between Turkey and Saudi Arabia suffered in recent years due to a series of factors. Tensions further escalated in 2018 following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.