Turkey and Saudi Arabia.. Historic relations and brotherly ties

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Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the two active countries in the Middle East and the Islamic world, have historical relations, especially at the level of support for the nation’s issues and bilateral cooperation in all fields, especially the economy.

At the invitation of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit the kingdom on Thursday, in a step that is expected to push bilateral relations to broader horizons of cooperation.

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On the political level, the two countries have solid relations “based on solid historical and cultural ties,” according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry on its website.

And “the history of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom and Turkey dates back to 1929, a year after the signing of the friendship and cooperation agreement between them,” according to previous reports published by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The mutual visits between senior officials in the two countries laid the foundations of this relationship and supported it in all political, economic and cultural fields, according to the agency.

Turkish-Saudi relations have witnessed a quantum leap since President Erdogan took office on August 28, 2014, and King Salman ruled the kingdom on January 23, 2015.

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And 2015 was replete with three summits, including the first in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in March 2015, and the second on the sidelines of King Salman’s visit to the Turkish city of Antalya in November 2015, and the last with President Erdogan’s visit to the Kingdom on December 29, 2015.

The summits of the first year of King Salman’s reign culminated in the two countries’ agreement to establish a strategic cooperation council during President Erdogan’s visit to the kingdom on December 29, 2015.

In the second year of King Salman’s reign, the growing cooperation between the two countries reached a new peak when they signed in the Turkish city of Istanbul on April 14, 2016 the minutes of the establishment of the Saudi-Turkish Coordination Council in the presence of the Saudi monarch and the Turkish president.

This council held its first meeting on February 8, 2017, in the Turkish capital, Ankara, under the chairmanship of the foreign ministers of the two countries.

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2017 also witnessed two summits, the first during President Erdogan’s visit to Saudi Arabia in February and the second in July when President Erdogan met with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the city of Jeddah in the east of the Kingdom.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia’s relations did not stop during the Gulf crisis with Qatar between June 2017 and January 2021, in light of the well-established strong relations also between Ankara and Doha.

Relations between Ankara and Riyadh also continued during the crisis of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

Turkey was a major supporter of the return of Gulf unity, and the Turkish judicial authorities referred the case of the trial of 26 accused of Khashoggi’s murder to its Saudi counterpart, amid Turkish confirmation that this procedure is in compliance with the law.

The recent period witnessed an intense revitalization of relations between the two countries and an emphasis on their importance, one of the most prominent features of which was a phone call between President Erdogan and King Salman on May 4, 2021, during which they discussed strengthening bilateral relations and many common issues, and they agreed to keep the channels of communication open between them.

Less than a week later, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited the Kingdom and discussed with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah the strengthening of bilateral relations.

On February 16, President Erdogan affirmed that Turkey and Saudi Arabia are continuing a positive dialogue and that progress is expected by taking concrete steps in the coming period.

On March 22, the Turkish and Saudi foreign ministers discussed strengthening relations between the two countries.

Cavusoglu announced on April 14 that “relations with Saudi Arabia have begun to improve and we have begun to take steps.”

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This improvement showed its economic impact clearly, as Saudi imports from Turkey increased by 2.8 percent during the first two months of 2022, according to data from the Saudi General Authority for Statistics.

The value of imports in January and February reached 71.3 million riyals ($19 million), compared to 69.4 million riyals ($18.5 million) in the corresponding period of 2021.