Saudi crown prince and Erdogan meet in Turkey with ‘full normalization’ in sights

However, he said negotiations on a possible currency swap line – which could help restore Turkey’s diminished foreign reserves – were not moving “as fast as desired” and will be discussed privately between Erdogan and Prince Mohammed.

The two countries also discussed improving cooperation in trade and sectors such as defence, energy and tourism among others, the joint statement said. It added that Ankara invited Saudi investment funds to invest in Turkish startups.

Prince Mohammed is on his first tour outside the Gulf region in over three years including a visit to Jordan. read more

Ties between Ankara and Riyadh took a turn for the worse after a Saudi hit squad killed and dismembered Khashoggi in 2018 at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. Erdogan at the time blamed it on the “highest levels” of the Saudi government.

The visit, including the welcoming ceremony at the palace, marks a turnaround in their relations. Ankara stopped all criticism and halted its murder trial in April, transferring the case to Riyadh in a move condemned by human rights groups.

Prince Mohammed has been leveraging Saudi Arabia’s vast wealth and oil production capacity to lure in Western leaders and private business partners, hoping shifting geopolitics and a focus on social and economic reforms would soften criticism of his human rights record.

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to visit Saudi Arabia in July as Washington struggles with record-high gasoline prices and building a united front against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

The visit also comes as Turkey’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.

The Turkish official said Saudi Arabia may be interested in companies within the Turkish Wealth Fund or elsewhere, or in making investments similar to those by the United Arab Emirates in recent months.

The leaders will also discuss the possible sale of Turkish armed drones to Riyadh, the person added.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said on Tuesday that Erdogan “will embrace the man who ordered the killing” of Khashoggi and accused him of trading “the country’s honour” for financial aid.

Prince Mohammed denies any involvement in the murder.

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