Leaders of Turkey and Saudi Arabia discuss ties as Ankara and Cairo conduct exploratory talks

The Turkish President and the King of Saudi Arabia discussed bilateral relations, broken after the Khashoggi murder, over a phone call made on Tuesday evening.

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On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia conducted a phone call to discuss bilateral relations which had become tense after the murder of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. This phone call was the second to have taken place between the two leaders in less than a month.

In a statement made by the Turkish Ministry of Communication, The Turkish President congratulated King Salman on the occasion of Laylat al-Qadr and the upcoming Eid al-Fitr. Furthermore, matters on the bilateral sense and steps to be taken to further the cooperation between the two countries were evaluated.

Last month, the Turkish Presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın, said that Erdoğan and King Salman had “a good call” in the talks in April and that the foreign ministers of the two countries had agreed to meet at an undisclosed date.

The conversation between the two leaders comes a day before a meeting between Turkish and Egyptian officials in Cairo, the latter delegation having arrived at the Egyptian capital on Tuesday evening. According to a statement made by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, political consultations will be made with Egypt under the co-chairing of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sedat Önal and his Egyptian counterpart Hamdi Loza.

The statement further says that the exploratory discussions will look at ways and steps leading to the normalization of relations in the bilateral and regional context.

Turkish-Egyptian relations took a downwards turn when a military coup overthrew Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi back in 2013. The talks, which will take place between 5-6 May, will be the first high-level talks to have taken place since then, and is expected to lay the foundation for an official meeting between the foreign ministers of Turkey and Egypt: Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Sameh Shoukry, respectively.

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