Saudi crown prince visits Turkey for first time since Khashoggi murder


Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is visiting Turkey for the first time since the 2018 murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hold one-on-one talks with Mohammed bin Salman aimed at repairing a deep rift.

Mr Erdogan once indirectly accused the prince of ordering Saudi agents to kill Khashoggi. He denied any involvement.

The visit comes as Turkey seeks trade, investment and assistance to help it deal with a worsening economic crisis.

It has also worked to improve relations with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Israel after years of tensions.

Prince Mohammed meanwhile wants to end his international isolation and restore his powerful regional role.

He also visited Jordan and Egypt this week as part of a Middle East tour and next month will meet US President Joe Biden, who promised in 2019 to make Saudi Arabia “the pariah that they are” over Khashoggi’s murder.

Khashoggi, a US-based Washington Post columnist and prominent critic of Prince Mohammed, was last seen entering the Istanbul consulate on 2 October 2018, where he had gone to get papers needed to marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.

A UN investigator concluded that he was “brutally slain” by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents sent from Riyadh, and that his body was dismembered. She made that judgement after listening to purported audio recordings of conversations inside the consulate made by Turkish intelligence.

While Mr Erdogan did not directly accuse Prince Mohammed, he claimed he knew the order to kill Khashoggi “came from the highest levels of the Saudi government”.

US intelligence agencies concluded that the crown prince had approved an operation to capture or kill Khashoggi.

Saudi prosecutors blamed “rogue” agents and said the prince had no knowledge of the operation.

President Erdogan said last week that his talks in Ankara with Prince Mohammed – who is Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader – would focus on advancing relations between the regional powers to a “much higher level”.




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