Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Prince Mohammed Bin Salman review a military honour guard during a welcome ceremony in Ankara on Wednesday. AP
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman arrived in Türkiye for the first time in years on Wednesday for talks with President Tayyip Erdogan aimed at fully normalising ties. Erdogan said talks with Prince Mohammed would focus on advancing Turkish-Saudi relations to a "much higher degree.”
The Saudi Crown Prince’s convoy arrived at the presidential palace complex escorted by Turkish mounted honour guards. Erdogan welcomed Prince Mohammed at the presidential palace in Ankara with a ceremony and the two shook hands and embraced, before being met by members of the Turkish cabinet.
A joint statement released followed their meeting said the sides "strongly emphasized a joint determination to start a new era of cooperation in bilateral relations ... including political, economic, military, security and cultural relations.”
The two sides also discussed the possibility of developing and diversifying trade and boosting investments and partnerships in various fields. The talks were held in an atmosphere of "sincerity and brotherhood embodying the depth of excellent relations between the two countries,” according to the statement.
In April, Erdogan held one-on-one talks with Prince Mohammed in Saudi Arabia after a months-long drive to mend relations between the regional powers. Erdogan said last week he and Prince Mohammed would discuss "to what much higher level" they can take ties during talks in Ankara.
The visit is expected to bring "a full normalisation and a restoration of the pre-crisis period," a senior Turkish official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "A new era will begin."
Tayyip Erdogan welcomes Prince Mohammed during an official ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Ankara. AFP
The Turkish official said the two countries had lifted restrictions on trade, flights and the screening of TV series, with mutual negative media coverage also halted. Agreements on energy, economy and security would be signed during the visit, while a plan was also in the works for Saudi funds to enter capital markets in Türkiye, the official said.
However, he said negotiations on a possible currency swap line — which could help restore Türkiye's diminished foreign reserves — were not moving "as fast as desired" and will be discussed privately between Erdogan and Prince Mohammed.
The visit also comes as Türkiye's economy is badly strained by a slumping lira and inflation soaring beyond 70%. Saudi funds and foreign currency could help Erdogan shore up support ahead of elections by June 2023, analysts say.
King Abdullah II and his son Crown Prince Hussein (R) bid Prince Mohammed farewell during a departure ceremony in Amman. AFP
The leaders will also discuss the possible sale of Turkish armed drones to Riyadh, the person added. Earlier on Wednesday, Prince Mohammed left Jordan after a visit to the country during which he met with King Abdullah II.
On his departure, King Abdullah said that Prince Mohammed had honoured Jordan with his visit and that Saudi Arabia will remain a support to the Arab and Muslim world. On Tuesday, King Abdullah awarded the crown prince with the Order of Al Hussein Bin Ali. Prince Mohammed's regional tour started in Egypt on Monday.
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The operation was successful. The Crown Prince left the hospital in good health.
Prince Salman said, “The Kingdom is one of the largest and most important economies in the world, and we strive hard to work to double the size and diversity of the economy. To continue achieving this, we consider in the government the non-oil GDP as the main indicator of the success of our economic plans. "
The Minister of Health, Dr. Tawfiq Bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, said: “I extend my thanks and gratitude to the Crown Prince for his keenness and continuous follow-up to provide vaccines to citizens and residents, and his permanent directives to provide them with the best services.”
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