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AFP
November 22, 2020

In rare phone call, Erdogan, Saudi king agree to enhance ties

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AFP
November 22, 2020

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed ways of enhancing ties with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, in a rare phone call since the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, his office said.

The phone call came on the eve of the G20 leaders’ summit hosted by Riyadh Saturday and Sunday. Erdogan and the Saudi king discussed bilateral relations during the phone call and exchanged views on the G20 summit, the Turkish presidency said late Friday. The Turkish leader is due to address the summit via video link at 1300 GMT.

“President Erdogan and King Salman agreed on keeping channels of dialogue open for enhancing bilateral ties and for issues to be settled,” it added.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia have long competed for supremacy in the Muslim world but the tensions between the two Sunni-Muslim regional powers have intensified since the 2018 murder of Washington Post contributor Khashoggi, at the Kingdom’s Istanbul consulate. The case has sparked an international outcry and tarnished the global reputation of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman known as MBS.

Erdogan had said the order to murder Khashoggi came from “the highest levels” of the Saudi government but has never directly blamed MBS. In September, a Saudi court overturned five death sentences issued after a closed-door trial in Saudi Arabia that ended last year, sentencing them to 20 years in prison instead.