Erdogan visits Gulf region
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in Saudi Arabia for talks in to further strengthen ties as part of a wider Gulf tour.
The two Muslim powers have become increasingly closer over the past year, sharing in particular a backing for the opposition in Syria’s war.
Before beginning his Gulf trip in Bahrain on Sunday, Erdogan said Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies had entered the centre of Al-Bab, ISIL group’s last stronghold in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo. In Bahrain, Saudi Arabia’s island neighbour and close ally, Erdogan met King Hamad and other officials.
Since Saudi King Salman ascended the throne in 2015, Riyadh and Ankara have repaired ties strained over the 2013 ousting of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi, a Turkish ally.
Saudi Arabia has been one of the main supporters of Egypt’s current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as army chief overthrew Morsi.
In April last year Salman visited Erdogan, who awarded him a rare honour, the Order of State.
Turkey then began hosting Saudi warplanes at its Incirlik air base as part of the US-led coalition against ISIL rebels , who are among an array of factions fighting in Syria.
Ankara has taken on an increasingly important role with Moscow and Iran as a powerbroker in the Syria conflict. —Agencies