Turkish PM to visit Saudi Arabia in bid to boost ties

Turkish PM to visit Saudi Arabia in bid to boost ties

Turkish PM to visit Saudi Arabia in bid to boost ties

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım will pay a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh on Dec. 27-28 with aims to boost bilateral relations amid frail ties over regional issues.

The prime minister will discuss bilateral relations and regional issues including, the economy, trade, fight against terrorism and recent developments regarding Jerusalem.

But Turkey and Saudi Arabia have recently been at odds over regional developments, with one major disagreement being over Qatar, putting the two countries on counter camps after Ankara became Doha’s most important regional ally. In June, Saudi Arabia imposed a blockade against the gas-rich country. Turkey has sought however failed to mediate a resolution for the standoff between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The complicated ties between Ankara and Riyadh were also observed at an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit on Dec. 13, convoked by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a bid to take a joint stance against the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, when Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was absent at the gathering, and the Saudi representation in Istanbul remained at ministerial level.

In November, Erdoğan criticized a vow made by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who said he wanted to transform the hardline kingdom into a bastion of “moderate Islam.”

“Islam cannot be either ‘moderate’ or ‘not moderate.’ Islam can only be one thing,” Erdoğan said in a speech at a program hosted in Ankara by the OIC on women’s entrepreneurship on Nov. 9.

Dozens of royal family members, officials, and business executives were detained in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 4, a move thought to consolidate the crown prince more authority.

The Saudi prince has tightened his grip on power after launching the anti-corruption campaign by purging the kingdom’s political and business elite. Among those detained were 11 princes.