Jun 22, 2022 - World

MBS meets Erdoğan in Turkey after stops in Egypt and Jordan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan welcomes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Turkey on June 22. Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan welcomes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Turkey on June 22. Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman this week visited Egypt and Jordan to discuss regional issues and sign business deals before traveling to Turkey to continue normalizing relations after a long diplomatic crisis over the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Why it matters: The tour, MBS' first official foreign trip in more than three years, comes several weeks ahead of President Biden's planned visit to the kingdom for talks with the Saudi leadership and a summit with nine Arab leaders.

The big picture: MBS arrived in Cairo on Monday and had a series of meetings with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

  • During the visit, Saudi and Egyptian companies signed business deals worth $7.7 billion. The Saudis committed to push for another $30 billion in Saudi private sector investments in Egypt.

A day later, MBS arrived in Amman for his first visit to Jordan since being named crown prince in 2017. He met with King Abdullah II and Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah to discuss Saudi investments and ways to help Jordan deal with its economic crisis.

  • The visit came a year after the arrest in Jordan of one of MBS’ advisers, Bassem Awadallah, who was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges related to what King Abdullah has described as a coup attempt. Jordan never publicly accused Saudi Arabia of being involved in the alleged plot.
  • There has been growing tension between Saudi Arabia and Jordan in recent years over regional policy and the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

MBS also traveled to Ankara for a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In April, Erdogan visited Riyadh for the first time in years.

  • Erdoğan's visit to Saudi Arabia and MBS’ trip to Turkey are part of the normalization process between the countries, which was frozen after the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
  • U.S. intelligence concluded that MBS ordered the murder — a conclusion Saudi officials deny.
  • Erdoğan led the international campaign against Saudi Arabia for the murder, and Turkish intelligence leaked incriminating evidence against the Saudis to the local and international press.
  • But in recent months, Erdoğan started trying to mend ties with Saudi Arabia in an attempt to deal with Turkey's deepening economic crisis.

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