Saudi Arabia ‘seeking transformation,’ Turkish presidential spokesperson says
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Saudi Arabia seems to be undergoing a “transformation period,” Turkish Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said on Nov. 5, in the first official comment from Ankara regarding the recent arrests of over a dozen princes and ministers on corruption charges.
“In the short-term, these happenings seem fiery, yet when you look at the big picture, I wonder if these developments are the stepping stones towards a social revolution,” Kalın said on private broadcaster NTV.
His comments come after 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers were detained in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 4 as well as other recent developments including Riyadh’s declared intention to embrace a “more moderate” Islamic practice, to build an economic model independent of oil, and to allow women to drive.
“Upon a king’s order, changes have happened. News reports of formers ministers and current princes being detained have started to come in as part of their anti-corruption operations. We will probably be able to say more about these developments in the coming days,” Kalın said.
Billionaire Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud, who owns investment firm Kingdom Holding, was among 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers detained, two senior Saudi officials told Reuters on Nov. 5.
In addition to Prince Al-Waleed, who is one of Saudi Arabia’s best-known international businessmen as an investor in firms such as Citigroup and Twitter, people detained included Bakr bin Laden, chairman of the big Saudi Binladin construction group, and Alwaleed al-Ibrahim, owner of the MBC television network.
The detentions followed an earlier crackdown in September on political opponents of Saudi Arabia’s rulers that saw some 30 clerics, intellectuals and activists detained. The sweeping anti-corruption inquiry is thought to give Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman more authority.