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Turkey-Saudi Arabia ties

Date: 02 May 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is on a first trip to Saudi Arabia in the last five years to repair damage in ties.

 

Background

The ties between Turkey and Saudi took a hit after the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

 

Details

    • The economic situation of Turkey is in dire crisis. Wealthy Arab countries can help draw investments in the country.

    • Turkey has tried to repair its relationship with other countries such as Egypt and Israel. UAE has recently pledged $10 billion fund for investments in Turkey.

 

Economic situation

    • Retail inflation in Turkey has climbed to two decades high of 61%. The currency, Lira, has fallen by 44% in value against the dollar.

    • Turkey is scheduled for an election next year and the economic woes could spell doom for President Erdogan’s campaign.

 

Significance for Saudi Arabia

    • Saudi Arabia’s economy is undergoing a boom with $400 billion of revenue this year for the kingdom, as a result of higher energy prices.

    • It is looking for new avenues to invest. Turkey looks a favourable destination due to its political stability.

    • It is also looking to expand its alliances amidst strained ties with US. Many US lawmakers have demanded tougher actions against Saudi for its OPEC pact with Russia.

 

Jamaal Khashoggi killing

    • Saudi dissident journalist Jamaal Khashoggi was enticed to Saudi Arabian consulate on the pretext of false document verification.

    • He was killed and his body was dismembered before disposing off. Turkish authorities had conclusive evidences that pointed to the role of Saudi agents.

    • Subsequent investigations revealed that such operation could not have been conducted without getting a go-ahead from Crown-Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

 

Strain on ties

    • Saudi Arabia imposed trade embargo on Turkish goods that valued more than $5 billion. Turkish soap operas were banned from Saudi satellite TV channels.

    • Turkish companies operating in the kingdom were forced to shut down and Saudi investments in Turkey were curbed.

 

Way ahead

The improvement in ties between Gulf States and Turkey would impact Iran, which seeks to challenge Saudi dominance in the region.