Riyadh – A Saudi-Turkish summit headed by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected in Riyadh on Tuesday to discuss the special joint relations between the two countries.
Late on Monday, Erdogan arrived to Saudi Arabia, the second leg of his four-day trip to three Gulf countries, including Bahrain and Qatar, and was received by King Salman at King Khalid International Airport.
The Saudi-Turkish talks are expected to tackle regional issues, particularly the latest developments in Syria and events in Iraq.
Turkish analysts and deputies said Erdogan’s planned trip to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar came “in a very crucial timing,” due to developments in some regional files, in addition to the change of the U.S. administration and its positions regarding regional issues.
Turkish MP Juma İçten told Asharq Al-Awsat that the latest developments in Syria had particularly boosted the importance of Erdogan’s Gulf tour and his meeting with King Salman.
Erdogan announced on Sunday that Turkish troops and their Free Syrian Army allies had entered the center of شl-Bab in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo. Turkey now plans to move to Raqqa, the last ISIS stronghold in the area.
“Moving to Raqqa needs coordination between regional countries, on top of which is Saudi Arabia, a country that could play a leading role to support Turkey in coordinating with the U.S. administration to plan a battle in which Turkey rejects the participation of Kurdish forces,” the Turkish deputy said.
General Coordinator at the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), Burhanettin Duran told Asharq Al-Awsat that the international system has entered a new phase and it seems that U.S. President Donald Trump is heading towards changing the leadership role played by his country at the international level.
“This change will not only affect the balance of powers in Europe, but will also touch developments in the Middle East.”
Duran said Trump sees the Middle East from a perspective of fighting terrorism. Therefore, Duran said the next phase might witness a confrontation with Iran, under the slogan of fighting countries that are financing terrorism. He said this new strategy aims to appease the fears of Israel and Gulf countries as it contradicts the one followed by former President Barack Obama, who had followed a reconciliatory policy with Tehran.
“We should look at all those developments as a sign of dangerous geopolitical changes in the region,” Duran said.