Saudi King welcomed by Erdoğan in Ankara

Saudi King welcomed by Erdoğan in Ankara

Saudi King welcomed by Erdoğan in Ankara

DHA photo

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz was welcomed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at Ankara’s Esenboğa airport as he is paying a visit to Turkey for the 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit, which will last until April 15. 

The Saudi King, whose visit triggered a week of intense preparations in Ankara, used an escalator to debark his plane.

The visit comes at a time when the two countries are seeking to further deepen bilateral relations as a meeting of a high-level strategic cooperation council with the participation of a number of ministers from both sides will also take place in Ankara. 

After concluding meetings in Ankara, the Saudi delegation will move to Istanbul to attend the OIC summit. 

Salman came to Turkey after concluding a trip to Egypt and the strained Ankara-Cairo relations may also be on the agenda, as Erdoğan had already commented that Saudi leadership was pressing both sides to reconcile their relations. 

Egypt will also be present at the OIC summit at the foreign minister level. 

Another top issue will be the ongoing unrest in Syria, as Saudi Arabia and Turkey share similar views that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should leave his post. Saudi Arabia has deployed four warplanes to Turkey’s İncirlik Air Base in recent months to actively participate in international efforts to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

Extraordinary security measures also marked the king’s visit.

The windows of the 450-square meter King Suite in the JW Marriot in Ankara have been covered with bullet-proof glass while the walls of the suite have been covered with bomb-resistant cement. 

Saudi Arabia’s monarch started his five-day trip to Turkey on April 11. 

The hotel has been booked for the king for three days, and a team of 300 Saudi officials arrived there a few days ago to coordinate private preparations. It is reported that the total cost of preparations at the hotel was around $10 million.

All personal belongings and other necessities were transferred to Ankara in cargo planes, while around 500 luxury cars have been rented for the king’s meetings in Ankara and Istanbul. To fulfil this demand, vehicles have been rented from provinces across Turkey including Antalya and Adana.