Published on: 06/22/2022 – 22:52 Turkey and Saudi Arabia want to open a “new era of cooperation” after an express visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday to Ankara. A reconciliation that puts an end to several years of diplomatic estrangement, following in particular the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the premises of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. Open a new chapter in Turkish-Saudi relations, poisoned by the assassination at the end of 2018 in Istanbul of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This objective of the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the Turkish capital, Wednesday, June 22, materialized through a joint statement declaring the determination of two States “to start a new era of cooperation in their bilateral relations”. Ankara and Riyadh, which say they want to develop their relations in various fields, from the economy to the military, have not however announced the signing of any agreement. Welcomed personally on Wednesday by Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the presidential palace, with an equestrian parade and honor guard, Mohammed bin Salman, known as “MBS”, is making a strong comeback on the international scene. The de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, son of King Salman, had been largely isolated after the assassination in October 2018 of Jamal Khashoggi, killed and dismembered in the premises of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he had come to seek documents necessary for his marriage with his Turkish fiancée. At the time, the Turkish president av accused the “highest levels of the Saudi government” of having ordered the assassination.”Like a beggar”Act 1 of the Turkish-Saudi reconciliation took place at the end of April: President Erdogan, who will play next year and must repair a Turkish economy in crisis, had traveled to Saudi Arabia to discuss with MBS ways to “develop” relations between their two countries. Three weeks earlier, the Turkish authorities had decided to close the trial of the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and to refer the cumbersome file to the Saudi authorities, paving the way for rapprochement with Riyadh. “This is one of the most important visits to Ankara for almost a decade”, says Soner Cagaptay, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who recalls that the falling out between Riyadh and Ankara dates back to 2013. At the time, President Erdogan had supported against Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sissi the deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, from mu brothers sulmans, Saudi Arabia’s bane. The blockade imposed in 2017 by Saudi Arabia on Qatar, an ally of Ankara, then the Khashoggi affair the following year, had sealed the discord. But less than a year of the presidential election scheduled for mid-June 2023, President Erdogan is stepping up initiatives to normalize relations with several regional powers – Saudi Arabia but also Israel and the United Arab Emirates – in search of investment and tourist flows .After two decades at the head of the Turkish state, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is faced with the fall of the Turkish lira (-44% against the dollar in 2021 and -23% since January 1) and inflation (73, 5% over one year in May) which is ravaging the purchasing power of the Turks, making his re-election uncertain.”You returned the file [Khashoggi] to Saudi Arabia for money, like a beggar”, had fumed on the eve of the visit the leader of the main Turkish opposition party, Kemal Kilicdaroglu. “If Jamal had a grave, he would turn over in it” , reacted Wednesday to AFP Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of Khashoggi at the time of his assassination. “Countering the influence of Iran” MBS, who traveled to Egypt and Jordan earlier this week before d be welcomed in Ankara, will receive American President Joe Biden in Saudi Arabia in mid-July, a visit which should confirm his international rehabilitation. “For Saudi Arabia, one of the primary motivations [de la visite de MBS à Ankara] is to create a Sunni front, which will include Turkey, to counter the influence of Iran in the region”, notes Gönül Tol, of the Middle East Institute in Washington. But for the researcher, the son of King Salman “n’ Turkey’s attitude during the Khashoggi affair will not easily be forgotten.” During this period, MBS sought to promote a reformist image in the country and on the international scene. However, by unveiling the Khashoggi affair, Turkey has greatly damaged this image.” With AFP
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