Erdogan's Saudi Arabia visit: Turkey forgot about Khashoggi
Bin Salman and Erdogan have reviewed the Saudi-Turkish relations and ways to develop them in all fields, especially economic interests.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have vowed to reset relations to end a conflict between the two regional powers since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
Erdogan - in his first visit since the 2018 killing of Khashoggi in the Kingdom's Istanbul consulate, which caused a refute between the two countries - met with the Kingdom's de facto ruler bin Salman, to "develop" relations.
Saudi state news agency SPA on Thursday published images of Erdogan embracing bin Salman, who US intelligence officials determined approved the plot against Khashoggi.
The two leaders "reviewed the Saudi-Turkish relations and ways to develop them in all fields," SPA reported.
The trip came as Turkey - facing an economic crisis fuelled by the collapse of its currency and soaring inflation - tries to draw financial support from energy-rich Gulf countries.
The last time Erdogan visited Saudi Arabia was in 2017 when he tried to mediate a dispute pitting the Kingdom and other Gulf countries against Qatar.
Prior to flying to Saudi Arabia, Erdogan said he hoped "to launch a new era" in bilateral ties.
"We believe enhancing cooperation in areas including defense and finance is in our mutual interest," he added.
Gradually improving trade between Ankara & Riyadh
Saudi agents killed and dismembered Khashoggi, an insider turned critic, in the Kingdom's Istanbul consulate in October 2018. His remains have never been found.
Turkey infuriated the Saudis by pressing ahead with an investigation into the murder of The Washington Post Saudi writer. Erdogan revealed that the "highest levels" of the Saudi government ordered the killing.
Saudi Arabia responded by unofficially putting pressure on Turkey's economy through a boycott of Turkish imports.
But trade between the two has been gradually improving, and in January Erdogan announced he was planning a visit to Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this month, an Istanbul court halted the trial in absentia of 26 Saudi suspects linked to Khashoggi's death, transferring the case to Riyadh.
The Turkish decision angered human rights campaigners and Khashoggi's widow Hatice Cengiz, who vowed to appeal it in a higher court.
A "win" for Saudi Arabia?
Erdogan's visit will be seen as a "win" by Saudi officials keen to move on, Saudi political analyst Ali Shihabi considered.
"Of course it is a vindication," Shihabi said. "Erdogan was isolated and paid a high economic price in massive economic losses resulting from an economic and travel boycott, which is why he is the one coming to Saudi," he explained.
Both countries stand to benefit, he added, as Erdogan "needs the trade and tourism flows from Saudi, and Saudi would prefer to have him 'on side' on a variety of regional issues - and may be open to buy arms from Turkey."
Economic interests are "a major, major driver" of Erdogan's visit, said Dina Esfandiary, senior Middle East adviser for the International Crisis Group.
"It looks like Turkey's forgotten about Khashoggi, and I'm sure the Saudis appreciate that," Esfandiary indicated.