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Turkey’s olive branches have prickly effect on Saudis

Grappling with serious economic woes, Turkey is seeking to normalize ties with Saudi Arabia, but some of its fence-mending have badly backfired.
Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu is seen during a preparatory meeting for the GCC, Arab and Islamic summits in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, May 29, 2019.  REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed - RC1E8318B600
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Turkey has taken a number of recent steps that can be seen as efforts to normalize ties with Saudi Arabia: the foreign minister’s attendance of the Islamic summit in Mecca, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Eid al-Fitr phone call to King Salman and Ankara’s condemnation of the Houthi attack on the Saudi Abha airport. It's a good start, but the relationship remains shaky amid the moves that have badly backfired.

For Turkey, a continued flow of capital from the Gulf is crucial at the moment, with its ailing economy facing new threats of US sanctions due to Ankara’s insistence on procuring a Russian air defense system. Moreover, the continuation of open enmity with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates poses fresh hardships to Turkey’s moves in the Middle East and Africa.

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