Turkish officials celebrate Saudi National Day in Istanbul consulate where Khashoggi was killed
The Saudi consulate in Istanbul held a celebration marking the 92nd Saudi National Day on Friday, which included the participation of Turkish officials, amid ongoing criticism and outrage over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Ahmed bin Mohammed Aqeel, the Chargé d'Affairs of the consulate, marked the occasion alongside the Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, as well as the city's governor, Ali Yerlikaya, reported Arabi21.
A number of diplomats from several countries, and well-wishers of the consulate general were also in attendance.
Soylu had previously stressed the need for cooperation between the two countries in various fields, especially trade and defence industries in a bid to strengthen economic potential and combat terrorism.
Meanwhile, in his speech during the celebration, Yerlikaya congratulated Saudi Arabia on its National Day, and said that relations between Ankara and Riyadh continue to bolster thanks to new cooperation in many fields, especially energy, digital technology, tourism and health.
He also expressed Turkey’s support for Saudi Arabia’s candidacy to host the international exhibition "Expo 2030" in its capital, Riyadh.
Following Khashoggi’s murder, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have sought to mend and re-establish diplomatic ties earlier this year, which saw President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visit Riyadh in April for the first time since the Washington Post columnist’s killing.
In turn, Saudi Arabia lifted the travel ban to Turkey in June days before bin Salman’s scheduled visit to the country. The ban was initially imposed during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, when all foreign travel was prohibited.
Khashoggi’s killing, which occurred in October 2018 at the consulate, sparked worldwide condemnation from human rights organisations, politicians and celebrities alike.
US intelligence officers then accused Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of ordering the dissident journalist’s murder, which the de facto Saudi leader has continuously denied.
His murder led to bin Salman becoming shunned on the international stage, but world leaders and countries have since began to revive their relations with the Gulf kingdom in the wake of depleting Russian gas supplies following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.