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Turkey’s Erdogan arrives in Saudi Arabia on first visit since 2017, aims to mend ties

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Saudi Arabia on his first visit to the Kingdom since 2017, Saudi state-run al-Ekhbariya television reported on Thursday.

The Turkish Presidency had said earlier that the visit came at the invitation of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

“All aspects of the relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia will be reviewed, and steps aimed at enhancing the cooperation between the two countries will be discussed at the talks to be held as part of the visit. Besides bilateral relations, views on regional and international matters will be exchanged,” the Turkish statement said.

Ties between Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been strained after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

But Ankara has sought to improve ties with the Riyadh.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, Erdogan has also been working to mend his ties with other countries in the region as he faces domestic challenges at home brought on by an economy grappling with a currency crash and soaring inflation.

‘New era’

Speaking at a press conference before heading off to the Kingdom, Erdogan said: “My visit reflects our joint will to start a new era of cooperation as the two brotherly countries. We will be making efforts in order to start a new era of enhanced relations between our two countries in all respects including politics, military, economy and culture.”

“Saudi Arabia holds a special place for Turkey in terms of trade and investments as well as the large-scale projects implemented by our contractors. The total value of the projects our contractors have undertaken in Saudi Arabia reaches $24 billion. The complementary nature of our economies is the primary factor that attracts Saudi investors to the dynamic environment in Turkey,” he added.

“I see and believe that it is in our joint interest to boost our cooperation with Saudi Arabia in such areas as healthcare, energy, food security, agricultural technologies, defense industry and finance. It seems that we have significant potential particularly in renewable and green energy. We will hopefully discuss and thoroughly evaluate these issues.”

Erdogan also said he will address all aspects of ties between Riyadh and Ankara: “Regional and international developments will also be on our agenda. We state it at every opportunity that to us, the stability and security of our brothers and sisters in the Gulf is just as important as our own security and stability. In the current era of increasingly more sophisticated threats, dialogue and cooperation is imperative for the security and stability of our entire region.”

Read more:

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