Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been at odds with each other in the Middle East for a long time. The tension between Turkey and Saudi Arabia started during the Arab Spring in 2011. The year that the President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, who was supported by Erdogan, was ousted by General al-Sisi, who was supported by Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia supported Egypt’s leader al-Sisi, who was accused by Turkey of staging a coup, and stood against Turkey in Libya and even in Syria. In 2017 and the sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE against Qatar, Turkey came to Qatar’s aid. A year later, after the incident of Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, relations reached a state of complete freezing. Khashoggi’s murder was the peak of the crisis in the relations between the two sides.
Although the investigation of the case filed against Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi’s murder was stopped recently, with Turkey’s efforts bin Salman’s name was recorded in history as a murderer. But due to the fact that Turkey handed over the reasons and first-hand evidence about the crime to Saudi Arabia, there is no longer any threat left for Mohammed bin Salman.
Bin Salman’s visit to Ankara is considered part of the strategy of the economically damaged Turkey, which seeks to attract Saudi investments. Erdogan is well aware that his aggressive diplomacy will lead to a stalemate and he is trying to improve his strained relations with the UAE, Egypt, meanwhile, the Zionist regime.
For Turkey, which is struggling with serious issues such as the unprecedented drop in the value of the Turkish lira in recent months and the increase in the inflation rate, Saudi investment can have a positive impact in the short term in terms of having underground resources among the Persian Gulf countries.
It is expected that Saudi Arabia’s income this year from the sale of oil, the price of which has increased due to the war in Ukraine, will reach more than 400 billion dollars. Therefore, Saudi Arabia is looking for opportunities to increase foreign investments.
Prior to this trip, the Turkish authorities had carried out activities in order to sign contracts and agreements with Riyadh in various fields, especially trade and energy, but those activities have not been fruitful. One of the main topics of the meeting between bin Salman and Erdogan was the lifting of the Saudi embargo on Turkish exports. It is said that those sanctions will be lifted soon.
During the said trip, new agreements in the economic field were discussed and it was agreed to increase investment in Turkey. Turkey is going through a difficult time economically, so it attaches special importance to contracts and possible economic cooperation.
Riyadh is eyeing the companies that are in the Turkish financial fund and has planned for the entry of Saudi financial resources into the Turkish capital market. The currency that is likely to come with the funding could bolster Erdogan’s support ahead of crucial elections in June 2023.
Erdogan, who came to power 20 years ago in a bad economic situation in Turkey, wants to prove that he is ready to make any concessions to fill the coffers of the country. The government, which is desperately looking for foreign financial funds, has pinned its hopes on bin Salman. He has little time before the election to assure his voters that they will retain their purchasing power.
Polls show that the Justice and Development Party is in a difficult situation to regain power. The reserves of the Central Bank of Turkey are in a miserable state. Turkey is in dire need of money. Therefore, the meetings regarding the swap with Saudi Arabia will be important. The swap agreement with the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia will strengthen the reserves of the Central Bank of Turkey, reduce the risk factor to some extent and buy time for the Erdogan government.
If the swap agreement between Turkey and Saudi Arabia is signed, the Saudi bargaining will have a good result.
Also, the project of transferring natural gas extracted from the Black Sea to Europe through the island of Cyprus and the signing of the EastMed pipeline contract among Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, and the Zionist regime for the transfer of the regime’s gas is also important for Ankara.
Ankara believes that in the shadow of the existing pipelines, it can play a key role in the transfer of underground reserves of Iraq and even the Zionist regime. Riyadh can play a facilitating role in the rapprochement of Egypt with Turkey.
At a time when global energy markets are in a fragile state, the most important order of US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia in July will be to request an increase in energy supply from Saudi Arabia and the oil-rich countries of the Persian Gulf in order to reduce dependence on Russian energy to zero.
Riyadh wants to remind both global and regional players that it is a country that everyone should cooperate with at times of crisis. With the decrease in trust in America, Riyadh and other Persian Gulf countries are preparing for the period after the decline of the US influence. During this period, Riyadh wants to expand relations with the countries of the region. Bin Salman wants to have several achievements from the trip to Ankara. One of those is to strengthen his position against Biden. He wants to show that he can, not only prevent some events but also take new steps.
The purpose of this trip is to start the process of complete normalization. However, it seems that bin Salman’s visit to Ankara was not as fruitful as was expected. Erdogan’s opposition parties had harsh criticisms against that trip.
Erdoğan’s efforts are at a time when his policies have failed to satisfy public opinion. The results of the Metropol polling institute show that Erdoğan’s foreign policy turns have not been favorable to them. Some 60 percent voted against getting closer to Saudi Arabia, 48 percent against relations with the UAE, 67 percent against improving relations with the Zionist regime, and 56 percent against relations with Egypt.