Ankara/Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat—On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia and Turkey signed a key defense industry agreement.
Crown prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, deputy prime minister and defense minister, witnessed the signing of the bilateral agreement on the first day of his official visit to Turkey.
The agreement was signed by Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, and his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu, in the attendance of Turkish president Abdullah Gül and Saudi crown prince Salman bin Abdulaziz.
The Turkish president and the Saudi crown prince also met yesterday. They discussed bilateral relations between the two countries, in addition to the latest regional and international developments.
On his arrival in Ankara, crown prince Salman had stressed that his visit came as a continuation of the tradition of cooperation and mutual desire to develop and strengthen bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey on issues of common interest.
He emphasized that the two historic visits paid by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, to Turkey in 2006 and 2007 had a huge influence on securing a shift in Saudi-Turkish relations.
Crown prince Salman received Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoğlu at his residence in Ankara yesterday evening. The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that they discussed the latest developments in the Middle East, as well as bilateral relations between Riyadh and Ankara and ways of enhancing this in all fields.
The Saudi crown prince also received Turkish defense minister İsmet Yılmaz. The meeting included a discussion of military cooperation between the two countries, and ways to develop this.
Taha Hussein Ganj, adviser to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the Turkish prime minister would update the Saudi crown prince on the results of his recent visit to Washington, particularly regarding the latest developments on the Syrian crisis.
Ganj highlighted the importance of crown prince Salman’s visit to Turkey, saying: “We have waited for this visit for a long time and it is important in terms of strengthening military relations between our two countries. Saudi aircraft have participated in (military) exercises in Konya (in central Anatolia) and Turkish aircraft are currently present in Taif to participate in joint exercises.”
He said: “Relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia are excellent. The exchange of high-level diplomatic visits means that things are progressing rapidly, particularly following the visit paid by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, which was the first of its kind by a senior Saudi official in 40 years.”
“Saudi Arabia and Turkey are major regional countries and when they intervene to help solve issues, they are welcomed because they have no hidden agendas,” he added.