Turkiye and Saudi Arabia will start a “new era” to boost bilateral ties, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.
“My visit (to Saudi Arabia) is the manifestation of our common will to start a new era of cooperation as two brotherly countries,” Erdogan told reporters at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport before his departure for a two-day visit to Jeddah, a Saudi port city.
“It is in our common interest to increase our cooperation with Saudi Arabia in fields such as health, energy, food security, agricultural technologies, defense industry, and finance,” he said.
Erdogan also said Turkiye strives to ensure regional peace and resolve problems via dialogue and diplomacy.
“I believe we will boost our ties in every field through our joint efforts,” he said, stressing “the potential especially in renewable and clean energy technologies.”
He said regional and international developments will also be on the agenda during his visit. “We express at every occasion that we place as much importance on the stability and security of our brothers in the Gulf region as our own.”
Erdogan also underlined the importance of “dialogue and cooperation” for the security and stability of the entire region as “threats are growing more and more complex.”
He also condemned recent drone and missile attacks targeting Saudi Arabia.
During the visit, Erdogan is being accompanied by first lady Emine Erdogan and the ministers of interior, national defense, justice, health, treasury and finance, and culture and tourism.
The Turkish presidency announced Erdogan’s visit on Wednesday, saying it comes at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Relations between Ankara and Riyadh “will be reviewed in all aspects and the possibilities of developing cooperation will be discussed,” the presidency said.
“During the meetings, views will be exchanged on regional and international issues as well as bilateral relations,” it added.
Last month, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that major steps are ongoing to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia.
“We didn’t have a negative attitude towards Saudi Arabia in terms of normalizing relations, whether commercially, economically, or politically,” Cavusoglu told news channel A Haber.
In recent years Turkish-Saudi ties suffered due to foreign policy differences. Tensions rose following the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Efforts to end Russia-Ukraine war
On Turkiye’s efforts to end the war between Russia and Ukraine, Erdogan mentioned UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ visit this week to the Turkish capital Ankara.
Guterres later met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. “Mr. Guterres called me again after the meeting and told me that the talks were positive,” said Erdogan.
Erdogan also spoke on his Wednesday phone conversation with Putin, who he said voiced similar views.
NATO member Turkiye, which has friendly ties with both sides, is actively involved in diplomatic efforts for a cease-fire between Ukraine and Russia. Last month it hosted delegation-level talks in Istanbul and has reiterated a proposal for a leaders’ summit.
Turkish officials have also been engaging with their counterparts on the issue of humanitarian corridors in Ukraine.
Earlier Thursday, Russia thanked Turkiye for its role in the release of Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian detainee in the US for 20 years.
In a phone call, Putin thanked Erdogan for assistance in the prisoner swap of US Marine Trevor Reed and Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko at an airport in Turkiye on Wednesday.
Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia in 2010 on drug smuggling charges and extradited to the US, where he was serving a 20-year prison term.