Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has begun a tour of Saudi Arabia to restore strained relations. Ahead of the visit on Thursday, he described Saudi Arabia as a “brotherly” country and said he hoped the visit would usher in a new era of relations.

According to the Turkish President’s Office, Erdogan visited Saudi Arabia at the request of King Salman. The visit is being held as a result of several months of efforts to develop the relationship.

Analysts and officials say Saudi Arabia could help alleviate Turkey’s economic woes. Erdogan is facing tough elections next year. The Turkish economy is under pressure from rising inflation.

Before leaving for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Erdogan told reporters that the purpose of the visit was to develop relations, strengthen political, military and cultural ties. Erdogan said he would also meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“During my visit, we will review all possibilities for Turkey-Saudi relations,” he said. Erdogan said both countries would benefit from stronger cooperation in health, energy, food security, the defense industry and the financial sector.

It is worth mentioning that in 2016, Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist with different views, was assassinated at the Istanbul embassy. The Saudi prince was allegedly involved in the killings. This led to the deterioration of Saudi-Turkish relations. A Turkish court has recently handed over the case to Saudi Arabia.

Ankara hopes Erdogan’s visit will lift Saudi Arabia’s unofficial embargo on Turkish imports. The ban has been in place since 2020 over a dispute over Khashoggi’s murder. As a result, Turkish imports to Saudi Arabia fell by 98 percent.

A senior Turkish official said there was a “very positive atmosphere” surrounding Erdogan’s visit. He said the groundwork has been laid for resumption of joint work on trade, investment and regional issues.

Source: Reuters