Visit would be the first by the Turkish president since the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 by a team of Saudi agents in Istanbul.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will travel to Saudi Arabia next month, the Turkish leader’s first visit since 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.
Rocky relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia have deteriorated significantly following the brutal assassination of Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.
“They are expecting me in February. “They made a promise and I will pay a visit to Saudi Arabia in February,” Erdogan said in a video posted on social media on Monday.
The remark came in response to a question about Turkish exporters’ issues with Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of a trade opportunity in Istanbul.
There was no immediate confirmation of Riyadh’s planned visit.
Khashoggi, 59, was a journalist who wrote a column for The Washington Post and went to the consulate to obtain documents for his marriage to Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz.
He was assassinated in the consulate and dissolved in a case that tarnished the reputation of the Saudi crown prince. Mohamed bin Salman despite his stern denial of any involvement.
Khashoggi’s remains have never been found, and Erdogan at the time senior Saudi officials blamed although he never mentioned Crown Prince Mohamed.
The killings have caused worldwide uproar and a trial of several Saudi accused is currently underway in Turkey.
In the ensuing years, Saudi Arabia tried to exert informal pressure on the Turkish economy, which had already been plagued by a currency crisis in 2018.
There have been calls for Saudis to avoid visiting Turkey and buying property there, while Turkish exporters have complained about delays at Saudi customs in 2020.
Relations between the two countries have also been strained by other conflicts in the region, including the wars in Syria and Libya.
In addition, Riyadh, along with several other states in the region, has repeatedly accused Turkey of supporting “terrorist” groups.
But Turkey has been trying for the past two years to restore ties with local rivals, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Last May, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was in Saudi Arabia for the first time since Khashoggi’s assassination, which marks the end of the long diplomatic winter between the two countries, with both sides announcing at the time that they hope to restore ties.
The planned visit to Saudi Arabia comes at a critical moment for Turkey, which is suffering from another currency crisis caused by Erdogan’s unconventional economic policies.
Relations between Ankara and the United Arab Emirates are also showing signs of rapprochement.
During the first high-level visit to Turkey since 2012 last November, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed was in Ankara during which the United Arab Emirates announced. billion dollar investments in Turkey.