Turkey’s Erdogan arrives in Saudi Arabia on first leg of three-nation Gulf tour

"With the business forums to be organised, we will look for ways to move this figure much further," says President Erdogan

By
Web Desk
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan upon his arrival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabian, April 28, 2022. — Reuters
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan upon his arrival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabian, April 28, 2022. — Reuters

Aimed at attracting foreign investment to strengthen Turkey’s economy, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives in Saudi Arabia on the first leg of his three-country Gulf trip on Monday.

The Turkish president will meet King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah before leaving for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar later this week.

Ahead of embarking on the Gulf trip, Erdogan said: "During our visits, our primary agenda will be joint investment and commercial activities with these countries in the upcoming period."

The Turkish president said bilateral trade with Gulf countries has increased from $1.6 billion to approximately $22 billion over the past 20 years, AFP reported. 

"With the business forums to be organised, we will look for ways to move this figure much further," Erdogan said.

The visit is his second to Saudi Arabia since a recent rapprochement. Ties between the two countries were strained by the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.

Turkey angered Saudi Arabia by vigorously pursuing the case at the time, opening an investigation and briefing international media on the gory details of the killing.

But with ties on the mend, Erdogan visited Saudi Arabia in April 2022, and Prince Mohammed went to Turkey in June last year.

Erdogan's new Saudi trip comes as Turkey battles a currency devaluation and soaring inflation that has battered its economy.

The two countries will sign several accords during Erdogan's trip as Ankara looks to non-Western partners for financial support, a senior Saudi official told AFP on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the press.

Erdogan's Gulf tour will be followed by a trip to northern Cyprus which Turkey invaded and occupied in 1974, and comes after his re-election in May for another five-year term.

"Erdogan's visit to the Gulf after the critical elections held in Turkey itself reflects the importance of the Gulf states in the Turkish foreign policy agenda," Sinem Cengiz, a researcher at Qatar University, told AFP.

"Growing Gulf interest in investing in diverse sectors is a boost for Turkey, which is trying to increase exports to help ease its economic problems," said the expert on Gulf-Turkish relations.