Turkey’s top diplomat on Tuesday said his meeting with his Saudi Arabian counterpart was “very open and sincere,” and that both sides agreed to continue their dialogue.
Mevlut Cavusoglu was visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time since the 2018 murder of dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi severely strained the already fraught ties between Ankara and Riyadh.
Following talks with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan, Cavusoglu said that “our close cooperation will contribute to stability, peace and prosperity in the region.”
Saudi national Khashoggi, who was once close to the royal family but became a vocal critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was murdered inside Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.
Turkish and Western intelligence agencies say the order to kill Khashoggi by a Saudi hit squad could only have come from the prince, the kingdom’s de facto ruler.
Ankara and Riyadh have had a rocky relationship for decades, fuelled by differences over the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been a main backer of the Islamist group.
Many Muslim Brotherhood members fled Egypt for Turkey in 2013 after then-army chief, and now president, Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi toppled Mohammed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected, Islamist president.
Riyadh and its Gulf allies backed al-Sissi.
Ankara also sided with Doha in 2017, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties and transportation links with Qatar.