Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud have pledged to further co-operate on bilateral issues and regional matters particularly the conflict in Syria, during their discussions in Ankara on Tuesday. The Saudi King Salman is on an official visit to Turkey from April 11 to April 13. Salman is visiting Turkey shortly after his first official visit to Egypt on Thursday, with Cairo.
Erdogan welcomed Salman with an official ceremony at his presidential palace in Ankara on Tuesday, and bestowed the Order of the State of Republic of Turkey, the highest state order awarded to foreign nationals by the President of the Republic of Turkey, saying the Saudi monarch had exerted ‘great efforts’ to forge friendly ties since being crowned King in January 2015.
“My precious friend, my dear brother, since acceding to the throne in Saudi Arabia, you have made great contributions to development of friendly relations between our countries,” Erdogan said during the presentation of the medal.
“You have constituted an assurance for regional peace, security, serenity and stability with your astute administration. In this regard, the cooperation and the solidarity you have displayed with our country are beyond all kinds of appreciation. Turkey and Saudi Arabia’s further deepening of their cooperation in every field with your support is an opportunity for regional and global peace,” Erdogan further said.
Saudi Arabia and Turkey are two of the most stable countries following the Arab uprisings and, with ongoing fighting in neighbouring countries; both are keen to maintain regional stability. Both countries are staunchly opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and are strong supporters of the opposition forces in Syria that have been trying to oust the government in Damascus.
They have been building strong military ties. Turkey participated in military drills in Saudi Arabia this year. Riyadh has deployed warplanes at a Turkish air base as part of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS).
The present relations between European Turkey and Saudi Arabia appear to be on a major high. Chief advisor of Recep Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin said relations between the two are at a commendable level but far from reflecting the true potential, knowing the critical ramifications of regional conflicts for peace and security in the entire region, both Islamic leaders try to bridge the gap lying between them.
Highlighting the crises across the region, Kalin said that Turkey and Saudi Arabia had agreed to expand their bilateral relations which he said ‘will go a long way in confronting the current crises’.
For his part, Salman delivered a brief speech in which he expressed gratitude for the presentation of the medal and voiced appreciation of Saudi Arabia’s relations with both the Turkish people and the Turkish government.
The Saudi monarch will proceed to Istanbul later this week for a summit of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC).