Analysis: regional rivals reconcile in Jeddah while reason for three-year rift remains elephant in the room

With awkward embraces and fixed grins, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Mohammed bin Salman struck a pose of reconciliation. For the past three years, the presence of the Turkish leader and the Saudi crown prince in the same room would have been unthinkable, but in a drawing room of a Jeddah palace on Friday, both tried to signal a new beginning, reports the Guardian.

There was no sign of the acrimony that had set the regional rivals apart and – most definitely – no mention of the reason for the rift: the Saudi murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Instead, Erdoğan, who had been prepared to take bilateral relations between regional heavyweights beyond the brink, seemed content to be standing in his rival’s palace. The Saudi crown prince, meanwhile, had the look of a man who had won a prize.

The path to this point had been fraught. Ties between Saudi Arabia and Turkey had been mostly severed since October 2018, when a team of assassins, most of them security aides to Prince Mohammed, flew to Istanbul to ambush and dismember the Saudi dissident inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

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