Turkish foreign minister plans Saudi visit next week: source

Turkish foreign minister plans Saudi visit next week: source
Mevlut Cavusoglu is to visit Saudi Arabia, in a sign of warming relations between the two countries.
2 min read
Mevlut Cavusoglu has not been to Saudi Arabia since 2017 [Getty]

Turkey's foreign minister plans to visit Saudi Arabia next week, his first such trip since dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Riyadh's Istanbul consulate, an official told AFP on Thursday.

The exact dates have not yet been  set for Mevlut Cavusoglu's first official visit to the oil-rich kingdom since 2017, said the official, who requested anonymity.

The trip comes as Turkey tries to mend fences with its regional rivals, including Egypt, where Cavusoglu's deputy Sedat Onal began a two-day visit on Wednesday.

Ankara's relations with Riyadh deteriorated sharply after the October 2018 murder of Khashoggi, 59, a Saudi insider-turned-critic who wrote columns for The Washington Post.

Khashoggi was dismembered inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul after walking into the diplomatic compound to get documents for his wedding to Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.

His death and the subsequent disappearance of his body has tarnished Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's image and plunged Riyadh into a diplomatic crisis.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the time that the order to kill Khashoggi had come from senior Saudi officials.

Turkey has also put on trial in absentia two close former aides of Prince Mohammed, along with 24 other suspects. 

Read more: What warming Egypt-Turkey ties could mean for the Middle East

But Turkey has been taking steps to fix its relations with Saudi Arabia, which remains an important trading partner.

On Tuesday, Erdogan spoke by phone with Saudi King Salman, although no details of those talks were released.

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