Al-Monitor: Erdogan is seeking reconciliation with Saudi Arabia due to economic difficulties

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While the Saudis are open to transferring relations with Turkey to a “level of friendliness,” the continued slow leakage of forensic evidence against the crown prince through the international media “has left a very bad effect.”

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his meeting with King Salman in Jeddah in 2017 (AFP – Archive)

The site said Al-Monitor Al-American The increasing economic difficulties that Turkey faces explain the roots of its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s efforts to improve relations with some countries.

The site indicated that these economic matters are expected to worsen sharply, despite the continued Qatari support to Turkey, in the event that the United States or the European Union sanctions against it enter into force. Turkey withdrew its seismic exploration vessel, Urik Rice, from the disputed waters of the Mediterranean on November 30, ahead of the European Union summit scheduled to be held from December 10 to 11, where sanctions will be assessed. Imposed on Ankara.

The site talked about another retreat for Turkey, represented in relations with Saudi Arabia. Erdogan spoke with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz on November 21, before the “G20” summit chaired by the Kingdom.

The British “Middle East Eye” website quoted Turkish officials as saying that Erdogan had asked the king to help him end an unofficial Saudi boycott of Turkish goods that had begun to bear fruit. Turkey’s exports to the Kingdom decreased by 15% last September, compared to the same period last year, which is the third consecutive month of decline, according to the US Bloomberg site.

Relations between the two countries plummeted following the horrific murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkey has led a raucous campaign to expose the alleged role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in this case. Last week, a Turkish court added six new defendants – including two close associates of Prince Mohammed bin Salman – to 20 Saudis being tried in absentia for their alleged participation in Khashoggi’s murder and then dismemberment.

Erdogan had refused King Salman’s requests to bury the story in the days following Khashoggi’s murder. Bin Salman’s global image has been irreparably tarnished, with the United Nations and the CIA indicating his complicity. However, he is still stronger than ever, with many Saudis standing behind their prince in the face of what they see as a global conspiracy, according to Al-Monitor.

Turkey’s goal was to prevent Prince Mohammed bin Salman from attaining the throne, according to Ali Shihabi, a Saudi expert on Middle East affairs living in New York and co-author of the book “Saudi Arabia between the Jihadi Hammer and the Iranian Anvil”

Al-Shehabi told Al-Monitor in a phone interview: “What the Khashoggi case revealed more than anything else was Erdogan’s lack of understanding of how the Saudi caliphate would work. The idea that it could drive a wedge between the king and his son was not realistic at all.”

Al-Shihabi claimed that while the Saudis are open to transferring relations with Turkey to a “level of friendliness,” the continued slow leakage of forensic evidence against the crown prince through the international media “has left a very bad effect.”

Al-Shihabi expected that “the lack of confidence in Erdogan will not fade anytime soon, not before Erdogan calms his regional imaginations.”

Adapted translation: Al-Mayadeen Net

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