Saudi crown prince heads to Turkey, first time since Khashoggi murder




In this photo released by Saudi Royal Palace, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, speaks during the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Strategic U.S. interests in oil and security are pushing President Joe Biden toward meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during an overseas trip later this month. (Bandar Aljaloud/Saudi Royal Palace via AP, File)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected in Turkey on Wednesday, hoping to normalise relations strained after the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.

Talks in Ankara with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came amid efforts by the oil-rich kingdom’s de facto ruler to repair his image.

Erdoğan’s search for financial and diplomatic gains to help mend an ailing economy ahead of next year’s elections.

Erdoğan would receive the crown prince in an official ceremony at the presidential palace later on Wednesday, followed by a dinner in his honour, while no news conference was planned.

This is according to the Turkish presidential office.

Erdoğan travelled to Saudi Arabia in April for the first time since the brutal murder of Khashoggi in 2018.

U.S. President Joe Biden is also set to visit the Gulf kingdom next month, a sign world leaders are open to re-establishing warmer ties amid rising fuel prices and tensions with Russia.

U.S. intelligence services have identified the 36-year-old crown prince as being behind the Khashoggi murder.

The Saudi royal house rejected the claim.

After initially investigating the murder and conducting a trial in absentia of 26 defendants, a Turkish court controversially ruled in April to move the trial to Saudi Arabia. (dpa/NAN)

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