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Friday, 30 April 2021 00:00

Turkey and the Gulf States Relations

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Probably, recent days have been tough for Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The sharp increase in the spread of Covid-19 in the country has forced President Erdogan to take the decision to close or lock down his country completely until mid-May. This is aimed at avoiding  crowds of people when celebrating Idul Fitri on May 13, which could be a source of the spread of the Covid-19 virus. With this lockdown, someone can imagine that the country's economy will slow down again.

In addition, Turkey is also facing threats from Saudi Arabia to close 8 of the 26 Turkish-language schools in Saudi Arabia. Recently, communication between Turkey and Saudi Arabia has deteriorated as they became involved in various conflicts. It started with the case of Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the Saudi government, who was killed by a team of Saudi agents inside the country's consulate building in the Turkish City of Istanbul in 2018. Previously, the Turks wanted those involved to be tried in Istanbul, but the Saudis refused. Turkey was eventually forced to follow Saudi Arabia's decision regarding the sentence for the accused murder of Jamal Khashoggi. But the impact of the problem is an unofficial boycott of many Turkish products by Saudi Arabia. The trade rate for Turkish products in Saudi Arabia fell by 98 percent. It is not a simple number and the follow-up action is the closure of Turkish schools in Saudi Arabia. It is not clear what steps President Erdogan will take in response to this matter.

It is only logical that President Erdogan would then seek to improve Turkey's relations with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. With Egypt, for example, next week a meeting is scheduled to establish new cooperation. Relations of both countries have deteriorated since the Egyptian military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, who was close to Turkey in 2013. In time, Turkey started working to re-establish ties with Egypt and other Gulf states, while overcoming differences that left Turkey isolated in the Arab world. Since February this year, Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu has made a series of visits to all of the Gulf countries. During his visit to Qatar, he held a press conference with his Qatari counterpart, and promised that both countries would continue to cooperate to further develop relations in all fields. Minister Cavusoglu also hopes that Turkey's relations with the Gulf countries will return to normal sooner, starting with the lifting of the embargo and restrictions.

Hopefully, the Turkish negotiation and communication team can approach Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries with the right strategy. Thus, peace and cooperation among the Gulf countries can be created well.

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