As Turkey prepares for its centenary, our relationship with Saudi Arabia grows stronger

As Turkey prepares for its centenary, our relationship with Saudi Arabia grows stronger

Image: Shutterstock

After the occupation after World War I, the Turkish nation waged a long war for freedom, independence and sovereignty under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. It resulted, 99 years ago, in the founding of the Republic of Turkey.

Under Atatürk’s motto, “Peace at home, peace in the world”, the young Turkish nation began to establish friendly relations with other countries, especially those with which Turkey shared historical ties, religious and cultural commons.

With this in mind, in 1926 Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize what would become the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (then known as the Kingdom of Hejaz and Najd), establishing relations diplomats and appointing Suleyman Sevket Bey Chargé d’Affaires. that same year. Turkey and Saudi Arabia were among the few independent Muslim states during this interwar period, an era of ongoing colonialism.

On August 3, 1929, the two countries signed a “Treaty of Friendship”. On September 23, 1932, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was one of the first world leaders to send a congratulatory message to King Abdulaziz.

As Turkish-Saudi relations blossomed, a visit by Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz, the Saudi foreign minister, to Turkey in 1932 marked an important milestone in their relationship. The prince arrived in Istanbul on June 8 and traveled to Ankara on June 12, where Ataturk received the prince and hosted a dinner in his honor. During his stay, Prince Faisal observed Turkish army maneuvers in Ankara and visited military industry facilities in Kirikkale. His visit cemented the foundations for a lasting Turkish-Saudi friendship.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia share the same religion, close cultural ties and a common history. Moreover, the Turkish nation has a kinship with the Saudi royal family through Princess Iffet. Both as the esteemed wife of King Faisal and the mother of respected princes and princesses, the Turkish-born Princess Iffet is considered an important pillar of Turkish-Saudi friendship. Her valuable efforts to promote the education of Saudi women are still remembered by the Saudi people and her efforts have also made the Turkish community in Saudi Arabia proud.

After ascending the throne, King Faisal visited Turkey in 1966. More recently, 10 high-level visits between the two brotherly countries took place between 2005 and 2013 alone.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received the 2010 King Faisal International Award for Service to Islam from King Abdullah. In the same year, the two countries signed an agreement on military cooperation in training and scientific and technical fields. The Turkish president also visited Saudi Arabia in 2011, 2012 and 2017.

We believe that the goals of Vision 2030 and the strengths of the Turkish economy represent an excellent match, giving us the motivation to raise the bar in our relationship to new heights.

Fatih Ulusoy

This year, the reciprocal visits of President Erdogan and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have taken bilateral relations to new heights and paved the way for further cooperation. The warmth and sincere atmosphere of brotherhood exhibited during these historic visits speaks volumes to us about the future of our relationship. Bilateral relations hold great potential in various fields. Tourism, construction, trade, investment, digital technologies and the defense industry are among the main areas of cooperation.

Over the past 20 years, the development of the Turkish defense industry has gained impressive momentum. Today, around 70-80% of the products used by the army are produced in the country. Turkish defense industry companies are keen to cooperate with the sister kingdom, which aims to strengthen its own national defense industry.

Turkey always stands in solidarity with Saudi Arabia against terrorism. We condemn all types of terrorist attacks against the Kingdom.

Under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed, Saudi Vision 2030 has paved the way for a brighter future for the country. As Kingdom guests, we have been fascinated by the positive transformation of the nation and the momentum for change.

Vision 2030 also creates new opportunities in clean energy, industry, employment, environment, tourism, services, software and medicine.

As an energy importing country, Turkey needs alternative energy sources to fuel its booming economy. Therefore, Turkey’s energy demand is increasing year by year and green energy presents a clean and environment-friendly solution. Turkey also looks forward to strengthening its broad cooperation with Saudi Arabia in this area.

Turkey is an important tourist destination for Saudis. We appreciate the fact that more than 250,000 Saudis visited our country in July and August this year alone. The Turkish people always warmly welcome and look forward to welcoming our esteemed Saudi guests. Next year we hope to see even more Saudi brothers and sisters visiting Turkey.

Meanwhile, the two holy cities also attract hundreds of thousands of Turkish visitors to Saudi Arabia every year. Turkey has a wealth of experience to share with the developing and promising tourism sector in Saudi Arabia.

Turkish construction companies have the second largest volume of business in the world and they have contributed to the infrastructure and development of the Kingdom. We believe Turkish companies will make further contributions through the megaprojects that are part of Vision 2030.

In line with the goals of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia has submitted its bid to host Expo 2030 this year. President Erdogan has said Turkey will support the Kingdom’s bid.

As a co-founder of the Group of Friends of Mediation, Turkey has always supported the search for peaceful solutions to regional conflicts. Within this framework, Turkey and Saudi Arabia support peace and stability in the region and in the rest of the world.

Both countries support a two-state solution to the Palestinian issue. President Erdogan and Crown Prince Mohammed have also called for a political solution to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

With the mediation of Turkey and the UN, an agreement was reached for the resumption of grain exports from Ukraine. Thanks to this agreement, the effects of the global food crisis resulting from the conflict are less felt in many countries of the Middle East.

Over the past decades, cultural ties have grown stronger thanks to the popularity of Turkish television and film series.

There are unshakeable ties between the Turkish and Saudi people and we will strive to further strengthen our friendship and those ties.

While preparing for the centenary of the Republic, Turkey is eager to further improve its relations with the region. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are major players in the Middle East and in the Islamic world. Both countries are members of international organizations such as the UN, the G20 and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Saudi Arabia has seriousness in regional politics and Turkey is committed to strengthening our relations with Saudi Arabia in all dimensions. I have no doubt that we will see further progress in Turkish-Saudi relations in the near future, built on the foundations laid by our leaders during the two historic visits that took place this year.

We believe that the goals of Vision 2030 and the strengths of the Turkish economy represent an excellent match, giving us the motivation to raise the bar in our relationship to new heights.

• Fatih Ulusoy is Turkey’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the authors in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arab News

About Ariella McGuire

Check Also

Turkey is doing all it can to end the conflict in Ukraine: Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Turkish summit that it has become “much more …