Erdoğan invites Saudi crown prince in bid to boost investment - Bloomberg

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has invited the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, to visit Turkey in the “coming days,” Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing two Turkish officials familiar with the matter.

The report arrives weeks after the Turkish leader met with the de-facto ruler of the Kingdom in Saudi Arabia in a bid to develop relations in his first visit since the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi drove a wedge between the two countries.

Erdoğan's visit, which his office said was at the invitation of the Saudi king, marked the culmination of a months-long drive to mend ties between the two sides. Analysts maintain the rapprochement will potentially deliver a major boost to bilateral ties as well as Turkey’s deteriorating economy.

Saudi Arabia’s Center for International Communication didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the visit of bin Salman to Turkey, Bloomberg said. Such a visit by the crown prince would mark the first outside the region for two years. 

In March, a Turkish court dropped a trial in absentia of Saudi officials accused of the 2018 murder of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after consulting with the Justice Ministry. It said the legal proceedings would be transferred to Saudi Arabia, where a trial has already taken place, prompting human rights groups to cry foul on Turkey’s justice system.

Erdoğan is seeking to improve ties with Saudi and other countries in the region in a bid to boost trade and lure investment from oil exporters to support the country’s economy. 

Inflation in Turkey has surged to an annual 70 percent, the highest level in emerging markets and industrialised economies, after a currency crisis sent the lira tumbling by 44 percent against the dollar last year.

Ankara wants the Kingdom to end an unofficial boycott of Turkish goods. Turkey’s exports to Saudi Arabia dropped to almost zero last year, after the Arab kingdom enforced an informal blockade on the goods, slumping by 94.4 percent annually to $11.25 million in April of 2021, according to data from the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM).

Ankara has also been working to repair its strained regional relations with the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Egypt.

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