Ankara: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday he will visit Saudi Arabia in February.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been working for months to repair relations, part of a broader realignment that’s seen regional rivals heal rifts and step back from conflicts since President Joe Biden took office.
Erdogan’s trip to Saudi Arabia follows a visit by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in October and an earlier phone call with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz.
“He is waiting for me in February, he gave a promise, and I will visit Saudi Arabia in February,” Erdogan said, responding to a question on his government’s efforts to increase exports to the Gulf nation.
Relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been particularly strained, however, since the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Since the pandemic, Saudi citizens have been banned from travelling to Turkey, a popular vacation destination. Turkish businessmen also complain that their goods have been blocked from import to the kingdom, under an informal “boycott” quietly enforced by the Saudi government.
Saudi Arabia supplies Turkey with oil and chemicals, while Turkey exports building materials, textiles and food products to the kingdom.