Challenging ideas
On Turkish politics and International affairs

Insight Turkey > Articles |

Turkish-Saudi Arabian Relations During the Arab Uprisings: Towards a Strategic Partnership?

This article analyzes the development of Turkish-Saudi Arabian relations from the beginning of the struggle of the al-Saud family to gain power in the Arab peninsula to today. As a result of negative perceptions from both sides, bilateral relations were distant for decades. However, Turkish-Saudi relations began to improve remarkably under the AK Party and King Abdullah governments and a rapprochement started in 2005. Many agreements were signed during visits by political leaders from both sides. After the Arab uprisings began at the end of 2010, both countries took their cooperation further. As the two countries least influenced by the uprisings, Turkey and the Saudi Kingdom have been supporting the newly emerging political elites (Islamic groups) in Egypt, Libya and Syria; they have been maintaining close relations with the Western countries; and they have been trying to preserve regional stability and balance against Iran and its allies. However, there are some differences in their regional policies, such as their perceptions on the pace and scope of changes.

Turkish-Saudi Arabian Relations During the Arab Uprisings Towards a Strategic
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah (C) and Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul (R) pose for the official photo before the opening ceremony of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) summit in Mecca August 14, 2012.

The Arab Uprisings have changed the course of history in the Middle East, the history of the Arab peoples in particular, and have been determining Middle Eastern politics since they started at the end of 2010. Most regional countries have been strongly affected by these revolts and regimes have been changed in many countries, such as in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Other countries have had to restructure their political and economic systems, or at least promise to. Although Turkey and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have not been influenced directly by the Arab revolts, they have had to rethink their regional and global power calculations.

The Arab revolts have required further cooperation between Turkey and the Kingdom, the two most significant and stable countries in the region. In spite of the “otherization” of each other on some matters, Riyadh and Ankara have started cooperating on a number of issues and have developed a pragmatic and institutionalized policy orientation. This has changed conditions and understandings, leading to a rapprochement between the two countries.

Already have an account? Sign In.
Print Subscription
4 Print Issues
Subscribe
Digital Subscription
4 Digital Issues
Subscribe
Premium Subscription
4 Print Issues
4 Digital Issues
Subscribe

Labels »  

Call for Paper | Politics of the Balkans and Future Perspectives