Saudi Arabia lifts travel ban to Turkey ahead of crown prince visit
Saudi Arabia on Monday lifted a ban on travel to Turkey, days ahead of a visit by the kingdom’s crown prince as the two countries seek to mend ties.
Saudi nationals will once again be allowed to travel to Turkey, along with Ethiopia, Vietnam and India, Bloomberg cited the Interior Ministry as saying, citing developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Saudi government prohibited citizens to travel to Turkey and several other countries as part of pandemic measures, imposing a three-year ban on foreign travel for violators of the policy. The measure arrived amid heightened tensions between Riyadh and Ankara.
Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is set to pay a visit to Turkey this week, AFP reported on Friday. The visit arrives amid efforts to reset bilateral relations that have been fracture for a decade.
Turkey-Saudi relations turned sour in the wake of the Arab Spring in 2011, when Turkey sought to strengthen its role in the region by supporting groups close to the Muslim Brotherhood and calling on Arab regimes to reform, and diplomatic relations took a further nose-dive over the murder of dissident Saudi journalist in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in October 2018.
According to Turkish officials, he was tortured and killed in the consulate with the order of the “highest levels” of the Saudi government, and his body was subsequently carried out.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blamed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other officials for the murder of Saudi dissident Khashoggi. In retaliation for Turkish allegations, Riyadh imposed an unofficial boycott on goods from Turkey.