Saudi King Salman visits Ankara to strengthen ties

Published 10.04.2016 23:10
Updated 10.04.2016 23:13

King Salman of Saudi Arabia begins a five-day official trip to Turkey today. Strengthening ties and increasing regional cooperation is to be at the center of his meeting with top Turkish officials, including President Erdoğan

Saudi Arabia's King Salman and his large delegation will pay an official visit to Ankara starting today, and are expected to hold meetings in Ankara until Wednesday evening. The Saudi king will then proceed to Istanbul to attend the 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit in Istanbul on April 14 and 15. King Salman's visit to Ankara is taking place at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the two leaders are expected to discuss regional and international issues as well as bilateral relations.

King Salman was in Antalya in October 2015 to attend the G20 summit. In December 2015, President Erdoğan paid a visit to Saudi Arabia, and discussed bilateral relations and regional issues during meetings with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh. Erdoğan and Salman discussed the importance of coordination between the two countries in dealing with regional issues, highlighting their friendly and strategic partnership, according to presidential sources. Riyadh and Ankara agreed to set up a strategic cooperation council to strengthen military, economic and investment cooperation, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said in a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu after talks in Riyadh in December.

"The meeting produced a desire to set up a high-level strategic cooperation council between the two countries."

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu made a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia in late January to discuss bilateral relations and regional issues including Syria, following a commitment to increasing reciprocal ties and the level of cooperation in the region after King Salman's ascension to the throne. Starting his trip in Jeddah before proceeding to Mecca, Davutoğlu made his way to Riyadh to meet with King Salman and senior Saudi officials. Davutoğlu was accompanied by Deputy Prime Ministers Yalçın Akdoğan and Lütfi Elvan, Economy Minister Mustafa Elitaş, Interior Minister Efkan Ala and other top officials, including National Intelligence Agency (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan.

In February, Saudi Arabia and Turkey agreed to form a Strategic Cooperation Council to coordinate and develop relations between the countries in terms of economic, political, defense, security, education and health issues. The two countries are also intensifying their efforts to reach a political resolution in Syria, and therefore are expected to discuss ways to resolve the Syrian crisis during the visit.

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