News / Middle East

    Turkey's Erdogan Meets Saudi King in Riyadh

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud pose for a photo during their meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in this picture released, Dec. 29, 2015 by the office of the Saudi Press Agency.
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud pose for a photo during their meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in this picture released, Dec. 29, 2015 by the office of the Saudi Press Agency.
    Dorian Jones

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Saudi Arabia Tuesday with King Salman for talks that were expected to focus on Ankara’s support of Riyadh's military as well as Syria's civil war.

    With Ankara facing increasing isolation in the region, Riyadh is seen as increasingly important ally.

    The two countries are among the strongest backers of Syrian rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Erdogan’s isolation

    Both Riyadh and Ankara have also taken a hard line in calling for Assad’s immediate removal. But such stances have increasingly isolated Turkey in the region. It also faces high tensions with Moscow since last month’s downing of a Russian bomber by Turkish jets. Security analyst Metehan Demir says such isolation is a key factor behind Erdogan’s visit.

    FILE - This frame grab from video by Haberturk TV, shows smoke from a Russian warplane after crashing on a hill as seen from Hatay province, Turkey, Nov. 24, 2015.
    FILE - This frame grab from video by Haberturk TV, shows smoke from a Russian warplane after crashing on a hill as seen from Hatay province, Turkey, Nov. 24, 2015.

    "In the recent period, Turkey’s relation with the West, Russia and United States, were not that bright, therefore Turkey has been seeking allies, both in the Middle East and also Arab lands as well. The Saudi visit should be considered under this context. But of course there are some critical points Saudi and Turkey do not agree on," said Demir.

    Assets

    The Turkish president is expected to be looking for Saudi assistance in his efforts to reduce Turkey’s dependency on Russian energy. But Erdogan also has something to give. He is supporting the Saudi initiative of an Islamic military coalition to fight terrorism. NATO member Turkey has one of the largest and best equipped armies in the region. 

    FILE - Turkish Air Force fighter planes maneuver on the runway at the Incirlik Air Base, in Adana, southern Turkey, Aug. 13, 2015.
    FILE - Turkish Air Force fighter planes maneuver on the runway at the Incirlik Air Base, in Adana, southern Turkey, Aug. 13, 2015.

    But Sinan Ulgen, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Institute in Brussels, warns that, with the alliance made up of only Sunni Muslim countries, it is being viewed as primarily aimed at Iran.

    "The risk of sectarian polarization fueled on the one hand by Riyadh and on the other by Tehran has certainly increased. And here obviously there is a threat to Turkey, with Saudi Arabia wanting to pull Turkey on its side," said Ulgen.

    But with Erdogan increasingly ramping up criticism of Tehran, accusing it of forming an alliance with Moscow against Turkey, observers say Ankara may have already chosen which side it is on in the deepening sectarian divide in the region.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: md ali
    December 29, 2015 10:44 PM
    India

    by: William King from: Australia
    December 29, 2015 3:26 PM
    Forget about Assad, it is these two leaders who require 'regime change' if we are to progress towards peace in the middle east and prevent the spread of islamic fundamentalism.

    by: Alice from: Canada
    December 29, 2015 12:37 PM
    The Saudis and Turkey are both strong backers of ISIL in Syria and are working against the US and EU. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are however only temporary allies. The Saudis are not as naive as the Obama administration and realize that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is working toward replacing the Saudi government along with all the other Middle East governments with himself as Pasha of a new Middle East Turkish Empire. Sounds far fetched yet he has made it clear that is exactly what he believes! In the Middle East 'my enemy is my enemy'.
    In Response

    by: DEE GARMON from: United States
    December 30, 2015 12:59 PM
    Indeed, he is the pasha of the resurrected Ottoman Empire in his delusions of grandeur. The question arises whether the fault lies with the schizophrenic or with the powers that put him in charge
    to use him and then discharge like a dirty linen?

    by: Anonymous
    December 29, 2015 12:01 PM
    In Erdogan's previous visit to Saudi Arabia, Erdogan tricked the inexperienced new Saudi king in two things:

    1- Starting a war in Yemen
    2- Continued support of ISIS and AQ in Iraq and Syria

    These two have had heavy costs for Saudi Arabia financially and politically.

    Now with Saudi Arabia out, Turkey can claim leadership for the Sunni Muslims.

    Erdogan is going to Saudi Arabia to make sure that Saudis will get deeper in the trap that Turkey set up for them.

    by: Anonymous
    December 29, 2015 11:42 AM
    Erdogan and Salman are a pair of conniving evildoers, a huge part of the real Axis of Evil.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora