Ankara and Riyadh to establish ‘strategic cooperation council’
Kurdistan Region–Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Abdel al-Jubeir announced Tuesday that Saudi Arabia and Turkey plan to set up a “strategic cooperation council.”
“The council will be interested in many matters, including security, military, political, economic, trade and investment fields as well as energy, education, cultural affairs, medicine and other fields,” he told a Riyadh press conference following talks between Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Turkey’s President Tayyip Recep Erdogan, who is on an official state visit to the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia and Turkey share many interests in the region. They are both opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Tehran’s machinations in the region. Both support Islamist groups in Syria fighting Assad, most notably the Jaish al-Fatah group which managed to seize the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib from Assad’s control last May with intelligence and logistical support from Ankara and Riyadh.
Erdogan also said that countries who are backing Syria’s Kurds against ISIS are “adding fuel to the fire,” of the destructive conflict.
Turkey is very close to Qatar, which has been at odds with Saudi Arabia and its other neighbours for its support of the Muslim Brotherhood in the recent past.
Under a treaty with Qatar 3,000 Turkish soldiers are expected to be stationed in that tiny kingdom which will give Ankara a foothold in the Persian Gulf. They will conduct training exercises with the Qataris. Qatar will also be permitted to establish its own base in Turkey.