King Salman of Saudi Arabia arrived in Ankara on Monday with a large delegation to start his three-day diplomatic engagement with Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received him at the airport, a gesture in response to Salman's receiving Erdoğan during his visit to Saudi Arabia last April. Following meetings with Turkish officials to discuss regional issues, Salman will attend the 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit in Istanbul starting Thursday. Salman was awarded the Order of State by President Erdoğan, who said the order shows Turkey's high level of appreciation for strengthening ties between the two ally countries.
"My dear friend, since you succeeded to the throne in Saudi Arabia, you have contributed a lot to strengthening friendly relations with our country," Erdoğan said, expressing his appreciation for the two countries' mutual stance on developments in the region. The Saudi king thanked Erdoğan and said his country's relations with the state and the people of Turkey are worthy of commendation. Regional and international issues were reportedly discussed in meetings between Turkish and Saudi officials. The two countries have developed close relations in recent years on issues like the ongoing civil wars in Syria and Yemen as well as Iran's role in regional conflicts.