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A combined picture of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be in Saudi Arabia for two days on a charm offensive

Turkey's Erdogan heads to Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi U-turn

April 28, 2022

The Turkish leader will be in Saudi Arabia for a two-day visit where relations "will be reviewed." It will be Erdogan's first visit since the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.


Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan heads to Saudi Arabia on Thursday for a two-day visit as Ankara seeks to warm ties with the kingdom following years of strain over the 2018 killing of a journalist.

According to the Turkish leader's office, the visit is at the invitation of King Salman. Erdogan will meet with the Saudi monarch in the coastal city of Jeddah and will also have a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — who is considered the de facto ruler of the kingdom.

"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," the presidency said in a statement.

Ankara has been seeking to improve diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia over the past year, as it finds itself in the mired in an economic crisis with spiraling inflation.

Turkey, after finding itself increasingly isolated, has also sought to improve relations with the Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

Tensions over Khashoggi killing

Thursday's visit comes against the backdrop of tensions over the killing of Riyadh critic and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

Following the killing, Turkish authorities released gruesome details of the journalist's death inside the Istanbul consulate.

Security camera footage showing Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saud consulate in Istanbul
Jounralist and Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi's remains have never been foundImage: Briarcliff Entertainment/Everett Collection/picture alliance

Turkey was able to give a blow by blow account of what happened, from the arrival of the Saudi hit squad arriving in the country, to the footage of Khashoggi entering the consulate, and never leaving.

At the time, Erdogan said the order to kill Khashoggi came from the "highest levels" of the Saudi government.

Last year, a US intelligence report placed blame for Khashoggi's death squarely at the feet of Crown Prince Mohammed. The Saudi government has denied the any involvement on the part of the crown prince.

Earlier this month, a Turkish court suspended the trial in absentia of 26 Saudis charged with the killing of Khashoggi. Officials said that the case would be transferred to Saudi Arabia.

The decision has been roundly condemned by rights groups and critics who have supported the fight for justice by Khashoggi's fiance Hatice Cengiz.

Cengiz had been waiting for her partner outside the consulate at the time of his killing, and has said that she would be appealing the Turkish court's decision.

kb/rs (AP, Reuters, dpa)

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