The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz arrived in Ankara yesterday from Cairo after a visit to Egypt that lasted five days and during which “excellent” results were achieved. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received King Salman with other officials at Esenboğa International Airport in Ankara.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ visit to Turkey has attracted widespread interest, especially with regards to the development of Saudi – Turkish relations which have undergone a “strategic shift” since the beginning of King Salman’ reign. This can be seen from the fact that three bilateral summits between King Salman and President Erdogan have taken place in the space of only six months. King Salman is also expected to take part in a summit that will be attended by member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday and Friday.
Jahid Touz, an adviser to the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Turkey would support Saudi Arabia playing a larger role in the Arab and Islamic arena, and said that the Saudi – Turkish meeting will discuss the topics of terrorism, energy and crises that the region is experiencing. Touz believes that Saudi – Turkish relations have developed remarkably in recent times and noted that “what has been said about the rivalry between the two countries does not describe reality at present, and everyone can see that the relations between the two countries are relations of cooperation and unification and are not competitive”. He also stressed Ankara’s readiness to expand its participation in the Islamic Alliance.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi led those who had gathered to bid the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques farewell at Cairo airport yesterday. After leaving Egypt, King Salman bin Abdulaziz sent the Egyptian president a diplomatic cable thanking him and expressing his appreciation for the warm reception and generous hospitality extended.