Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Turkey for the first time in years on Wednesday for talks with President Tayyip Erdogan aimed at fully normalising ties that were ruptured after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The visit marks a step in Prince Mohammed’s effort to rehabilite his image beyond the Gulf, and comes as Erdogan seeks financial support that could help relieve Turkey’s beleaguered economy ahead of tight elections for the President.
In April, Erdogan held one-on-one talks with Prince Mohammed in Saudi Arabia after a months-long drive to mend relations between the regional powers, including dropping the Turkish trial over Khashoggi’s 2018 murder in Istanbul.
Erdogan said last week he and Riyadh’s de facto leader would discuss “to what much higher level” they can take ties during talks in Ankara.
The visit is expected to bring “a full normalisation and a restoration of the pre-crisis period,” a senior Turkish official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “A new era will begin.”
Erdogan welcomed Prince Mohammed at the presidential palace in Ankara with a ceremony and the two shook hands and embraced, before being met by members of the Turkish cabinet. There are no public statements scheduled after their talks.
The Turkish official said the two countries had lifted restrictions on trade, flights and the screening of TV series, with mutual negative media coverage also halted.
Agreements on energy, economy and security would be signed during the visit, the official said. However, he said negotiations on a possible currency swap line — which could help restore Turkey’s diminished foreign reserves — were not moving “as fast as desired” and will be discussed privately.