The ambassadors of countries with embassies in Turkey attended an iftar (fast-breaking) dinner Tuesday evening hosted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the capital Ankara. The dinner marks the fasting month of Ramadan for Muslims and served as a platform for the party to reach out to other countries, reflecting how bilateral relations are rapidly changing in the world of diplomacy.
Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to Turkey Waleed bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji, whose country spearheaded efforts to isolate Qatar over what it calls support for extremists, was seated near Qatari Ambassador Salem bin Mubarak Al-Shafi as both envoys briefly engaged in a warm conversation, according to a journalist from Hürriyet daily who attended the dinner. The two men were seen at the same table situated in front of the stage where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed guests in a gesture of Turkey's willingness to mediate the unprecedented crisis between two countries which enjoy close relations with Turkey.
President Erdoğan commenced his speech with a tribute to Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador who was killed last year. Karlov was shot dead by a police officer linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in Ankara. The president said, "Karlov was a regular guest of these dinners," referring to the slain ambassador as "a veteran diplomat, a good man and a genuine friend of Turkey."