Middle East, News

Erdogan arrives in Saudi Arabia to boost bilateral ties

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Turkish president to meet with Saudi King on March 2nd after visiting the holiest sites in Islam in Mecca and Medina.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived Saturday night in Saudi Arabia, where he will visit holy Muslim cities and meet with Saudi King.

Erdogan was welcomed in King Abdulaziz International airport in Jeddah city in the west by Governor Bin Macit and Turkish Ambassador to Saud Arabia Yusun Demirer.

Turkish President is accompanied by his wife Emine Erdogan, Deputy Prime Ministers Yalcin Akdogan and Numan Kurtulmus, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, journalists and businessmen.

During his visit to Saudi Arabia, President Erdogan will perform Umrah — visiting the holy city of Mecca and Masjid al-Haram, the holiest site in Islam in a non-pilgrimage season — and will later move to Medina, where al-Masjid al-Nabawi, the second holiest site in Islam containing the burial place of Prophet, is located.

President Erdogan will head to capital Riyadh on Monday, March 2nd, to meet the new King of Saud Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Before departing from Istanbul on Saturday, President Erdogan said in a press conference that the visit marks an occasion to boost cooperation between the two countries in all fields and discus the ongoing crises in the Middle East.

“We will discuss the latest situation in Syria, Palestine, Libya, Egypt and Yemen,” President Erdogan said, adding that the war against terrorism will be another topic high on the agenda.

President Erdogan said that Turkey has similar stances with Saud Arabia regarding many regional problems.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is set to meet Kind Saud on Sunday in the Saudi capital. Asked by a journalist in Istanbul whether his schedule would allow a meeting with el-Sisi, Erdogan said: “Are you joking?”

“For such a thing to happen, serious positive steps need to be taken first.”

Turkey has been among the few countries openly describing the 2013 July takeover of power in Egypt by then Defense Minister el-Sisi as a “military coup.” Official ties between the two governments have been stormy since.

Resource: Anadolu Agency, March 1, 2015

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