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Monday, September 26, 2022

Saudi crown prince pays first visit to Turkey since Khashoggi murder

On Wednesday, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia will take another step toward overcoming his international isolation by making his first visit to Turkey since the murder of writer Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in 2018.

One month prior to a visit to Riyadh by US president Joe Biden, for a regional summit focused on the energy crunch caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Ankara for discussions. The summit is scheduled to take place one month after the talks. The choice of Erdogan to mend fences with one of his most formidable adversaries was in large part motivated by financial and commercial considerations.

One year before a general election that offers one of the greatest tests of Erdogan’s turbulent two-decade leadership, living conditions in Turkey are collapsing. This election will take place in 2018. After Khashoggi’s killing, Erdogan’s administration, which has its roots in Islam, disclosed information of the grisly murder in a drip-by-drip fashion, which caused the Saudi crown prince significant embarrassment.

But today, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings, it is actively courting investment and aid from central banks from the exact same nations that it rejected ideologically due to their political ideology. According to Cagaptay, Prince Mohammed is also attempting to determine whether or not he can earn support from a wider group in anticipation of a potential new nuclear accord between global powers and the Saudis’ most sworn enemy, Iran.

In April, a court in Istanbul made the decision to transfer the case of 26 people suspected of having ties to Khashoggi’s assassination to Riyadh. This was the beginning of a reconciliation between Turkey and the Saudis, which started with the decision to stop the trial in absentia. Officials from the US intelligence community have reached the conclusion that Prince Mohammed gave his approval to the operation against Khashoggi, which Riyadh refutes.

Hatice Cengiz, who was engaged to Khashoggi and is from Turkey, voiced her extreme opposition to the ruling made by the court. However, it opened the door for Erdogan’s visit to Saudi Arabia three weeks later, during which he was able to shake hands with the crown prince.

Ankara anticipates that the patching up of fences between the two Sunni countries would assist in bolstering the Turkish economy at a pivotal stage of Erdogan’s presidency. An official from the Turkish government said that the parties would address a variety of topics, some of which include help for small and medium-sized enterprises as well as collaboration between banks.

Because of Erdogan’s unorthodox approach to economic policy, inflationary pressures have been building for the last year, and as a result, consumer prices have more than doubled. The consequent reduction in popular favour of Erdogan, along with the depletion of state funds, leads analysts to the conclusion that the Turkish leader can ill afford to keep his antagonistic position toward the petrodollar-filled Gulf nations.

Ankara’s stance that it would not recognise Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-removal Sisi’s of the Muslim Brotherhood from office in Cairo in 2013 marked the beginning of Turkey’s difficulties with the Saudi government. The Muslim Brotherhood was seen as a danger to the very existence of Saudi Arabia and other Arab monarchies. After Turkey made an attempt in 2017 to circumvent the almost four-year embargo that the Saudis and their allies had put on Qatar, these rivalry heated up even more.

Analysts think that the United States government in Washington is nodding in approval as it watches the gradual restoration of normalcy to the area. Tol, on the other hand, questioned whether or not Prince Mohammed was ready to put his whole confidence in Erdogan.

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