Development Turkey and Saudi vow to start new period of cooperation By Reuters June 23, 2022 Murat Cetinmuhurdar/PPO/Handout via REUTERS Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meet at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, June 22, 2022 Turkey and Saudi Arabia emphasised determination on a new period of cooperation in bilateral relations during talks in Ankara, as the two countries aim to fully normalise ties that were ruptured after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In a joint statement following the talks between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s de facto ruler, and Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan, the two countries said they discussed improving relations and investment in sectors from energy to defence among others. 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. 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. 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 between Erdogan and Prince Mohammed. The two countries also discussed improving cooperation in trade and sectors such as defence, energy and tourism among others, the joint statement said. It added that Ankara invited Saudi investment funds to invest in Turkish startups. Ties between Ankara and Riyadh took a turn for the worse after a Saudi hit squad killed and dismembered Khashoggi in 2018 at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. Erdogan at the time blamed it on the “highest levels” of the Saudi government. The visit, including the welcoming ceremony at the palace, marks a turnaround in their relations. Ankara stopped all criticism and halted its murder trial in April, transferring the case to Riyadh in a move condemned by human rights groups. Prince Mohammed has been leveraging Saudi Arabia’s vast wealth and oil production capacity to lure in Western leaders and private business partners, hoping shifting geopolitics and a focus on social and economic reforms would soften criticism of his human rights record. The visit also comes as Turkey’s economy is badly strained by a slumping lira and inflation soaring beyond 70 percent. Saudi funds and foreign currency could help Erdogan shore up support ahead of elections by June 2023, analysts say.