Saudi crown prince begins first visit to Turkey since 2018

Talks between leaders to focus on energy crunch caused by Ukraine crisis


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Published: Wed 22 Jun 2022, 7:25 PM

Saudi Arabia's crown prince on Wednesday, started his first visit to Turkey since 2018. The talks in Ankara between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan come one month before US President Joe Biden visits Riyadh for a regional summit.

The talks are expected to focus on the energy crunch caused by the Ukraine crisis.

President Erdogan's decision to revive ties with the Kingdom is driven in large part by economics and trade.

"I think this is probably one of the most significant visits to Ankara by a foreign leader in almost a decade," said The Washington Institute's Turkey specialist Soner Cagaptay.

The Turkish leader personally welcomed the crown prince at his presidential palace at a grand ceremony featuring parade horses and a military honour guard.

Analysts believe the crown prince will be looking to see if he can win broader backing ahead of a possible new nuclear agreement beteen world powers and Iran.

"There is increased confidence (in Riyadh) that Ankara could be more useful in the current geopolitical environment," the Eurasia Group said in a research note.

Ankara expects the mending of fences to help prop up the Turkish economy at a crucial stage of Erdogan's rule.

A Turkish official said the sides would discuss a range of issues, including cooperation between banks and support for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Erdogan's unconventional economic approach has set off an inflationary spiral that has seen consumer prices almost double in the past year.

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