Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is gearing up for a fence-mending visit to Saudi Arabia next month, hoping for financial benefits above all as simmering economic woes threaten his political fortunes at home. Erdogan’s trip to the kingdom would be another milestone in Ankara’s quest to reconcile with Arab heavyweights, following normalization with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and overtures with Egypt after years of rivalry.
Erdogan’s plan for a February visit to Riyadh became public knowledge shortly after Ibrahim Kalin, a senior presidential aide, asserted that Ankara would “accelerate normalization steps” in the region this year. Erdogan blurted the planned visit as he left a gathering of Turkish exporters Jan. 3 after a businesswoman asked him to resolve trade hitches with Saudi Arabia. “He is expecting me in February,” Erdogan said, without naming his contact.