Riyadh, Ankara reset relations after Khashoggi killing

Erdogan — in his first visit since the 2018 killing of Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, which drove a wedge between the two countries — met the kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to “develop” relations.

Saudi state news agency SPA on Thursday published images of the Turkish leader embracing Prince Mohammed, who US intelligence officials determined approved the plot against Khashoggi — something Riyadh denies.

The pair “reviewed the Saudi-Turkish relations and ways to develop them in all fields”, SPA reported.

Pictures published by Turkish state media also showed a separate sit-down with King Salman, the crown prince’s father. Erdogan then visited the Muslim holy city of Makkah to perform Umrah.

The trip came as Turkey, facing an economic crisis fuelled by the collapse of its currency and soaring inflation, tries to draw financial support from energy-rich Gulf countries.

Prior to flying from Istanbul to Saudi’s second city Jeddah, where some roads were lined with Turkish and Saudi flags, Erdogan said he hoped “to launch a new era” in bilateral ties.

“We believe enhancing cooperation in areas, including defence and finance, is in our mutual interest,” Erdogan said.

Saudi agents killed and dismembered Khashoggi, an insider turned critic, in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in October 2018. His remains have never been found. The gruesome act risked isolating Saudi Arabia, and especially Prince Mohammed, while escalating Riyadh’s regional rivalry with Ankara.

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