Report: Change in Saudi throne, Turkish-Saudi ties promising
by Fatih Şemsettin Işık
ANKARAJan 27, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Fatih Şemsettin Işık
Jan 27, 2015 12:00 am
In a report titled "Saudi Arabia after King Abdullah's Era: Return of Sudairis" published on January 24, by SETA Foundation, an Ankara-based think tank, a possible advancement in Turkish-Saudi Arabian ties with King Salman's ascending to the throne, is regarded as conceivable. As Muhittin Ataman, deputy general director of SETA, evaluates the likely outcomes of the change in the Saudi throne, including the significance of the Kingdom with regards to regional and world politics, he claims that Turkey will use this change as an opportunity for mending fences with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Pointing out that Saudi Arabia is the one other Islamic country together with Turkey taking part in the G20, Ataman states, "Accordingly, each kind of development in Saudi Arabia has tremendous impact on regional and global politics. Therefore, it is impossible for regional states and global powers to stand idly by those developments within the country. Due to the death of King Abdullah, many countries will revise its relations with Saudi Arabia."
Furthermore, taking the ISIS threat and the havoc in Yemen into account, it is stated in the report that the Saudi administration would necessarily take more cautious steps in its regional policies. "Hence, as a primary alteration, the Saudi administration may cease using the label 'terrorist' for political groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, who are non-violent but stand in opposition, and who have a wide mass of sympathizers in the Arab and the Muslim world," the author says.
In the report, the author also forecasts that the new administration may stop supporting pro-radical policy in Syria, which was implemented by Prince Bandar, and instead mend fences with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) for making a clean break with Turkey, as a country that supports aforementioned political groups.
As soon as the death of King Abdullah was announced by Saudi officials, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suspended his African tour for a day and attended the funeral. Also, a day of mourning was declared in Turkey on the Saturday following the death of the Saudi king. These steps are perceived as gestures by a Turkey that is eager to leave political disagreements aside and foster better bilateral relations.
Returning from his African tour, President Erdoğan stressed that his attendance at the king's funeral and the declaration of one day of mourning was to show the importance the government attached to bilateral relations. "There are topics that we agree on. On Egypt, as well as on Syria and Palestine, there are issues where we don't see eye to eye. We don't want such differences to cloud bilateral ties," he said on Monday.
Erdoğan also stated that he is hopeful about Saudi's changing negative stance toward the Muslim Brotherhood without prejudgments. He said, "Everyone should wait and see what King Salman bin Abd al-Aziz does. I personally would like to go and visit him and wish him well within the next week or 10 days," and noted the urgency for working together for the unity of the Muslim world: "As King Salman said, we need to work together to ensure there is unity and cooperation in the Muslim world. Turkey and Saudi Arabia need to work together."