Wednesday , July 6 2022

Saudi Leader Expected in Turkey for First Visit Since Khashoggi Murder

The Saudi crown prince was expected in Turkey on Wednesday for his first visit since Saudi agents murdered the prominent dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018, driving a deep rift between the two regional powers.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto leader of the oil-rich kingdom, was scheduled to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey at the presidential palace in Ankara in what would be a symbolic mending of the fences between two Middle Eastern heavyweights, whose rivalry has played out over the past years across conflicts from Libya and Egypt to the Persian Gulf.

Crippled by soaring inflation at home, Mr. Erdogan has been courting regional leaders for help to bolster the Turkish economy before presidential elections next year.

In confirming the high-level visit last week, Mr. Erdogan said he hoped his one-on-one meeting with Prince Mohammed would present an opportunity to take relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia to a higher level.

The rapprochement follows similar moves by other countries to rebuild ties with Saudi Arabia, which drew global outrage over Mr. Khashoggi’s killing and dismemberment inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018.

Prince Mohammed, 36, has denied having any oversight or foreknowledge of the operation to murder or capture Mr. Khashoggi. But a 2018 assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency concluded that he had approved the operation that killed Mr. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia.

The murder swiftly ruptured ties between the two countries.

Turkey angered Saudi Arabia by immediately opening a vigorous investigation and briefed international news media on lurid details of the murder, dripping them out slowly over time to growing outrage around the globe. Mr. Erdogan said the order to dismember Mr. Khashoggi came from the “highest levels” of the Saudi government, but avoided accusing the prince directly.


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