Turkey’s foreign minister is visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time since the 2018 murder of dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi severely strained their already fraught ties.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Mevlut Cavusoglu would be in Riyadh on Monday and Tuesday to meet with his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan, and discuss “bilateral relations” as well as “exchange views on regional issues.”
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 a rivalry about the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise and decline since the 2011 pro-democracy uprisings.
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.
However, last week, deputy foreign ministers from Turkey and Egypt conducted talks in Cairo aimed at resolving long-running tensions between the regional rivals. It was the first such high-level contact since 2013.
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.