Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman is visiting Turkey for the first time since Khashoggi’s assassination

Erdogan (right) receives the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince

Erdogan (right) receives the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince

© 2022 AFP

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has paid a state visit to Turkey for the first time since the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has paid a state visit to Turkey for the first time since the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received the de facto ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state with military honors at the Presidential Palace in Ankara on Wednesday. The assassination of the government-critical journalist Khashoggi in Istanbul at the end of 2018 had severely strained relations between the two countries. But now they want to open a new chapter.

A press conference was not planned in addition to the two-hour meeting and a joint meal. However, in a joint statement at the end of the short visit, both countries reaffirmed their “determination to usher in a new era of bilateral cooperation”. Both sides want to advance their relations in a number of areas, including the economy and the military. However, no agreements or specific deals were concluded.

The 59-year-old government critic Khashoggi was murdered on October 2, 2018 in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. He had an appointment there to prepare for the wedding with his fiancée, a Turkish citizen. According to official information from Turkey and the USA, a 15-man commando from Saudi Arabia was waiting in the representation, murdered him, dismembered his body and made the remains disappear.

A US intelligence report concluded that Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Khashoggis assassination have approved. Riyadh rejects this and assures that the Saudi Arabian perpetrators acted on their own initiative.

The murder had caused international outrage and put a strain on relations between Riyadh and Ankara. Erdogan blamed Riyadh for the journalist’s death at the time, but without directly blaming the crown prince.

Erdogan is in the country because of high inflation Turkey and other economic problems under strong domestic political pressure, his poll numbers are falling a year before the next parliamentary and presidential elections. Investments from Saudi Arabia could help him to restart the economy.

The Turkish President had already traveled to Saudi Arabia in April and met the Crown Prince there. Three weeks earlier, the Turkish judiciary had stopped its investigation into the Khashoggi case and sent the file to the Saudi Arabian authorities.

Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancé at the time, sharply criticized the reception of the crown prince in Turkey. “If Jamal had a grave, he would turn around in it,” she told AFP. “They gave the files to Saudi Arabia for money,” Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of Turkey’s main opposition party, criticized the Turkish authorities.