The Turkish President of Religious Affairs, Ali Erbash, and the Saudi Minister of Hajj, Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, discussed on Sunday the affairs of Hajj and Umrah for the next year 2023, stressing the strategic cooperation between the two countries in all fields.
After a meeting with the Saudi minister in the Turkish city of Istanbul, Erbash said during a press conference that they had consulted with Al-Rabeeah regarding areas of cooperation between the two sides regarding the Hajj and Umrah season for the year 2023.
He stated that the two sides agreed to sign a protocol in the Saudi city of Jeddah next January, through which the numbers of Turkish pilgrims and other matters related to Hajj will be clarified.
Regarding bilateral relations, Erbash emphasized the common and long history between the Turkish and Saudi peoples and the friendly relations that bring them together, indicating that cooperation between the two sides includes all fields.
He stressed that serving the pilgrims is an important responsibility and honorable work, and Minister Al-Rabeeah performs this duty with great precision and determination.
Referring to the development of Hajj services year after year, Arbash expressed his great appreciation for the Hajj and Umrah services provided by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj.
He pointed to the great demand in Turkey for the performance of Hajj and Umrah, and that they are doing their best for citizens to perform their worship in the best way.
For his part, Al-Rabeeah said during the press conference that his visit to Turkey “comes within the framework of the existing strategic and historical relations between the two countries, which aim to enhance cooperation in various fields to serve the interests of the two countries.”
He continued, “I held a meeting with Arbash and his distinguished team, and I will meet tomorrow with the Turkish Minister of Tourism and a number of Saudi and Turkish companies working in the field of Hajj and Umrah, as well as with the Director of the Turkish General Directorate of Civil Aviation and a number of Turkish airlines to discuss ways to facilitate the arrival of pilgrims and Umrah performers.”
Al-Rabeeah expressed his happiness to inform the Turkish side of the procedures and steps they are working on to facilitate the arrival of Umrah pilgrims and visitors from Turkey.
He added that they will launch, on Monday evening, a Turkish-language version of the “Nesk platform” for pilgrims’ services.
Regarding the meeting, he explained that they “discussed the development of Hajj and Umrah services in light of the Kingdom’s government and people’s commitment to serving the Sacred House of God, in addition to highlighting the developments taking place in the Holy Land in its infrastructure and organization to provide the best facilities and the finest services to the guests of the Sacred House of God at home and abroad.”
Al-Rabeeah pointed out that “the Kingdom has worked on a number of projects that serve the guests of Rahman, including the launch of the “Guests of Rahman” program, which is one of ten programs within the Kingdom’s vision for the year 2030.
He also touched on “the third expansion project of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, which is worth more than 200 billion riyals (53.3 billion US dollars), and it is the largest construction project to expand the Grand Mosque in addition to the project to expand the Noble Sanctuary, the Quba Mosque expansion project, and the development of historical places in Mecca and Medina (Al-Munawwarah).”
He stated, “The Haramain Express Train project between Makkah and Madinah has been implemented at a cost of about 64 billion riyals (about $17 billion), which shortens the distance between the two cities to two hours.”
Also, “historical sites have been opened in Medina (the enlightened one), and we will continue to work to open a group of historical sites in Mecca and Medina, which number more than 100 sites, in order to enrich the experience of visitors to Mecca and Medina, and to learn about the great history of the Two Holy Mosques and the journey of the Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace.” Rabia.
And the Saudi minister indicated that it is now possible for every visitor with any type of Umrah visa to roam anywhere in the Kingdom, adding, “We have worked to extend the Umrah visa from 30 days to 90 days.”