Turkey and Saudi Arabia Agree on “Strategic Cooperation Council”

Turkey and Saudi Arabia Agree on “Strategic Cooperation Council”

Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, met on Tuesday with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, with the main topic on the table being the Syrian conflict.

Before leaving for Riyadh, Erdogan accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad once again of “mercilessly” killing the Syrian people. Both countries strongly support the removal of Assad and to this end, have backed rebel groups throughout the conflict.

This was the third meeting between the two heads of state this year, showing increasingly development and stabilization of relations between the two countries since king Salman inherited the throne earlier this year.

Under king Abdullah, the two countries relations had deteriorated due to Turkey’s support of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi Arabia viewed as a destabilizing threat to the region.

The meeting was also attended by high level Saudi and Turkish officials and the agenda also included discussions of the escalating conflicts in Yemen and Libya.

The Saudi Minister of Foreign affairs Ahmed Al-Jubeir, said in the press conference that “The meeting produced a desire to set up a high-level strategic cooperation council between the two countries…The aim of this council is to bring about a qualitative transformation of relations between Turkey and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia so they would be truly strategic and to serve the interests of the two countries and peoples”.

This meeting and agreement on a strategic cooperation council comes just a few weeks after Saudi Arabia announced the creation of an anti-terror coalition composed of 34 Islamic nations in which Turkey is also part of.

Jubeir said that the council will be managed by foreign ministers and will deal with security, military, economy, trade, energy and bilateral investments.

Energy is of major importance for Turkey, particularly since relations with Russia deteriorated following Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian bomber.

In 2014, Saudi Arabia accounted for 10 percent of Turkey’s crude oil supply, with Turkey’s other major suppliers of crude oil being Iraq with 27 percent, and Saudi Arabia’s adversary Iran which counts for as much as 26 percent, according to the EIA.

Saudi Arabia is one of the closest allies to the US and the EU in the Middle East and this alliance also benefits Turkey in terms of the country’s relations with the west.

Turkey and the EU singed a 3 Billion Euro agreement in November, while also agreeing to start over negotiations for the country’s accession in to the union.

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