Which photo of the Saudi Prince and Erdoğan depicts the situation the best?
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS on June 22 at his Presidency in Ankara. The full presidential protocol was in place for him who holds a diplomatic status of a Deputy Prime Minister. All the members of Erdoğan’s cabinet were there to welcome him, and MBS shook hands with all of them one by one. They seem very content about the situation as if they were not the ones who supported Erdoğan when he blamed the Saudi Prince for the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. Erdoğan went to Ankara’s Esenboğa Airport in person to say goodbye to his majesty.
One of the two photos above was published by the Turkish authorities, that is the one above. The below was serviced to the media by Saudi sources. In the first, Erdoğan displays his official stance even though he looks a bit tired and seems not in control of the situation. MBS obviously took lessons about posture and pose from the best teachers in the world; This includes pulling the other person’s hand to their side while shaking hands and placing a victorious smile on their face.
The second photo, leaked by Saudi sources, was taken while Erdoğan was just preparing to pose; The Turkish President looks as if he is bowing before the Saudi Prince.
Which one reflects the real situation? Does it really matter?
The second photo was the one that has been circulated in the Arab and Western world as of this morning.
The message that the Saudis want to convey, and the Western circles, who have turned their opposition to Erdoğan into opposition to Turkey also enthusiastically agree, is the claim that the Saudi dynasty has brought the Erdogan administration which accuses him of murder, round.
How? You may ask. Again, the message between the lines is “with the money”; with petro-dollars. What was discussed in the meeting was speculated to be Saudi Arabia’s support of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey or SWAP agreements, the pro-government media mentioned about $40-50 billion. There is neither a word in the joint statement nor any agreement signed. Economist Fatih Özatay wrote in his article in the Dünya newspaper that even if this would be the case, its effects will be ephemeral in a few months.
In addition, before leaving Cairo with a farewell of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a day before, MBS had signed 14 investment agreements with Egypt worth $7.7 billion, and the goal of investments to reach $30 billion was included in the joint statement.
Even if we look at it only from this perspective, there are concrete agreements with Egypt but only promises to Turkey.
Saudi Prince is aware of his leverage
First the Covid-19 epidemic, then the Russia-Ukraine war changed all the balances. The oil embargo imposed on Russia by the USA and the EU only led to an increase in oil prices. In a world where Germany plans to delay the re-starting of coal power plants and shutting down nuclear power plants, green dreams are also delayed, and oil producers are gaining strength.
US President Joe Biden, who accepted Turkey’s theses thanks to the evidence presented to the CIA by the MIT and blamed Saudi Arabia, is now going to shake hands with MBS, maybe he will hug him, this is the world of interests. MBS also wants to make a tour of the region before that visit and show that he is on good terms with everyone. First Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, then Algeria, Greece and the Republic of Cyprus; namely the Greek Cypriot Government.
Do you think MBS, who looks like he will rule the Saudi Kingdom for many more years given his young age (36), will pour money into the re-election of the Erdogan administration, which has proven him to be an instigator of murder in the eyes of the USA? If he does, does he do it only in the name of religious brotherhood?
If some people in Ankara attribute the relief of the economic crisis, albeit temporary, to the money coming from Saudi Arabia by abandoning the murder allegations, on the way to the elections, and if this is why Turkey’s reputation is being ruined, they are badly mistaken.