Saudi-Turkish Relations: Is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Saudi Arabia next month part of a strategy to end bitterness in relations?

Saudi-Turkish Relations: Is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Saudi Arabia next month part of a strategy to end bitterness in relations?
Saudi-Turkish Relations: Is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Saudi Arabia next month part of a strategy to end bitterness in relations?

Ottoman forces attacked and destroyed Al-Dariyah, the capital of the first Saudi state, and the outskirts of Riyadh. Meanwhile, in 1818, King Abdullah bin Al Saud of Saudi Arabia was beheaded in Istanbul.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was first destroyed by the Ottoman Empire in 1818 and again in 1871. Saudi Arabia's third attempt was successful when it sided with Britain in World War I and defeated the Ottoman Empire. By 1924, the Ottoman Empire was confined to present-day Turkey, and current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is said to have been influenced by this movement.

But that is no longer the Ottoman era. In recent years, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have sought to improve relations.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced a visit to Saudi Arabia next month. Bilateral relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been strained in recent years

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also plans to visit the United Arab Emirates next month. Erdogan is said to be working on a strategy to end the bitterness in relations with the Gulf states.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has indicated that he now wants to increase trade with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia's pro-Sharq News and other Arab media outlets have prominently shared a video announcing Erdogan's departure for Saudi Arabia.

Erdogan made the announcement on January 3 in Istanbul.

In the video, the journalist is seen asking Erdogan about the decline in exports from Turkey to Saudi Arabia in recent years. In response, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, "Saudi officials are waiting for me. They are hoping that I will go to Saudi Arabia. I am going to Saudi Arabia next month in February.

There has been a lot of turmoil in the West Asian region since Biden became US president. Countries in the region are trying to end their hostility. Talks are underway between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi visited Istanbul in November, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a visit to Saudi Arabia.

What are these steps pointing to?

Talmud Ahmed, India's former ambassador to the Gulf states, said: "Distrust in the United States has increased. West Asia is now out of US strategy. Biden's focus is on China in the Indo-Pacific region. On the other hand, the manner in which the United States handed over Afghanistan to the Taliban and withdrew from it also sent a message that the United States does not reach a logical conclusion. There is an atmosphere of mistrust in relations with the United States.

"Strange things are happening in West Asia," says Talmiz Ahmed. New alliances are being formed. Biden's arrival has changed a lot. It was not needed when Trump was there. Biden's arrival has caused a stir in the Middle East. Biden says he has no interest in West Asia.

"The issue of Afghanistan has added to the confusion and increased distrust of the United States in West Asia," he said. The Gulf states feel they have to do their own diplomacy in the region. Saudi Arabia itself is talking to Iran. The UAE itself is going to Turkey. A new diplomatic environment has begun.

"Biden's intelligence seems insufficient in the eyes of (Russian President) Putin and (Chinese President) Xi Jinping," says Talmud Ahmed. Trump's campaign to recognize Israel has stalled. Biden tried, but Indonesia refused. There was no result in Yemen either.

"Turkey's vision is strategic autonomy," he said. He does not want a permanent alliance with anyone. His principle is that Turkey should have a role. Erdogan is inspired by the Ottoman Empire's tradition. The relationships that are now being formed are based on specific issues. There is no unity, no coercion but competition and cooperation. They are no longer accountable to NATO. Turkey asked the United States for Patriot missiles, but they did not, so Erdogan took the S400 from Russia.

Saudi social media users react to Turkish President's announcement

Saudi Arabia has not issued an official statement regarding the visit, but Erdogan's announcement received significant coverage in the Saudi media.

Okaz and Al-Marsad paid close attention to Erdogan's announcement. Some nationalists also say Erdogan's meeting with the Saudi leadership reflects Saudi dominance in the region.

"Many things are happening in our favor because of the wisdom of our leadership," said Turki al-Faisal al-Rashid, a Saudi political analyst. It's good for the region, too. "

A Saudi nationalist Twitter user quipped about the announcement of Erdogan's visit to Saudi Arabia, saying, "I applied for a meeting with Saudi Arabia and they allowed me to come in February."

addition, many Saudi political activists have opposed Erdogan's forthcoming visit.

addition, many Saudi political activists have opposed Erdogan's forthcoming visit.

In addition, many Saudi political activists have opposed Erdogan's forthcoming visit.

Abdullah Al-Awda, director of Democracy for the Arab World Now, tweeted that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had only asked Erdogan to stop mentioning Saudi Arabia in the 2018 assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Don't let it happen in the media. The request was linked to Saudi Arabia's security and economy.

Saudi Arabian social activist Lujin al-Hadloul was recently released. His sister Lena Al-Hadloul tweeted a video of Erdogan's upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia. In this video, a man from Saudi Arabia can be seen burning musical instruments made in Turkey.

Saudi Arabia has been boycotting many Turkish-made goods since 2020.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have accused Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Both countries have hated Erdogan for this.

Turkey has partnered with Qatar on many levels. The partnership was also troubling for Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain between 2017 and 2021.

Relations between the two countries soured in 2018 after the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. At the time, Erdogan had targeted the Saudi Crown Prince over the issue.

The importance of Saudi Arabia

During the same period, the Saudi government tried to prevent its citizens from going to Turkey and using its products, but last year, a number of diplomatic steps were taken between the two countries.

Turkish Foreign Minister visited Saudi Arabia in October last year. Erdogan also spoke by telephone with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Amid growing rapprochement between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia has stepped up talks with Erdogan's government. Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the real ruler of the United Arab Emirates, visited Turkey in November last year.

The visit was amazing. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates fear a future US presence in the Middle East and are therefore seeking to forge a regional partnership.

In recent years, the level of foreign policy competition between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has also increased. Amid the growing influence of the UAE in Turkey, Saudi Arabia is also trying to balance its presence by improving relations with Ankara.

The UAE has an investment agreement with Turkey. The agreement comes at a time when Turkey's economy is going through difficult times on several fronts.

Erdogan's compulsion

Erdogan's compulsion

Erdogan's compulsion

Turkey's currency, the lira, has historically weakened. The trade deficit, the gap between the country's imports and exports, has also widened.

Inflation in Turkey reached 36.1% last month. In 2021, the lira depreciated by 44%. The decline in exports from Saudi Arabia had a direct impact on the Turkish economy.

According to a report by the news agency Bloomberg, Turkish businessmen had complained that they were facing an unofficial boycott in Saudi Arabia.

In December 2019, Turkey's exports to Saudi Arabia fell from 1.02 billion riyals to 506 million riyals, a decrease of 95%. According to the Turkish Bureau of Statistics, Turkey's exports to Saudi Arabia fell by 78% in 2020.

Saudi Arabia is the largest importer from China, Japan and India. Turkey has elections next year and the steady decline in its economy is worrying for Erdogan. Erdogan wants to improve relations with Saudi Arabia and increase exports.

If Saudi Arabia's relations with Turkey improve, it could help increase its security partnership. Turkey could supply Saudi Arabia with military equipment, such as drones, but what is currently happening in West Asia is being seen as a direct link to the political upheaval in the Middle East.