Monday, August 8, 2022

Saudi prince’s visit to Turkey is postponed, but mistrust remains

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on Wednesday with a military band and equestrian accompaniment.

Turkish officials hailed the visit as a new era in bilateral relations after years of bitter rivalry between Erdogan and the crown prince. The Turkish president led the international outcry in 2018 over the assassination of prominent Saudi journalist and government critic Jamal Khashoggi, which took place at Riyadh’s Istanbul consulate.

Timothy Ash of Bluejay Asset Management says Erdogan’s diplomatic turnaround is driven by economic necessity.

“He has elections ahead of June next year,” Ash said. “The macroeconomic situation in Turkey is quite challenging. He always seems to be on the verge of a balance of payments crisis, large trade and current account deficits, limited reserves. The lira continues to weaken; you know they have limited foreign exchange “Really, he really needs money, he needs foreign currency to help him defend the currency to provide some stability in the run-up to those elections.”

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While a joint statement released by the two countries said the visit was carried out “in an atmosphere of sincerity and fraternity,” there was no announcement of any Saudi financial support.

Analysts warn that confidence, despite Erdogan’s warm welcome for the Saudi crown prince, as in many other countries in the region, remains an issue, said Mehmet Ogutcu, chairman of the London Energy Club.

“There is criticism of Turkey in the region as an assertive force,” Ogutcu said. “Therefore, of course, there is suspicion; this suspicion is mutual. Turkey does not fully trust these countries in the region, nor do they.”

But security and defense issues are seen as an important common ground. During the visit, the Saudi crown prince allegedly discussed the purchase of Turkish military drones, which the Ukrainian army uses effectively against Russian forces.

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Shared concerns about Iran are also seen as a basis for cooperation, analyst Ogutcu said.

“On the Saudi side, they need Turkey as a counterweight to Iran; they also realize that the United States will not be there to stay long because the US’s priority is to contain China, “Ogutcu said.” Therefore, US involvement will not be as strong in the Middle East and Gulf. not except for the security of Israel. Turkey is therefore not a country they can ignore. But it will be give and take. So there are real economic, political and security interests involved. ”

With Erdogan facing re-election by June 2023 and lagging behind in polls as the country’s economic woes grow, analysts suggest the crown prince may be reluctant to extend a financial bailout to the Turkish president, who until recently ‘ was a bitter competitor.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

Nation World News Desk
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