Saudi king visits Turkey for 1st time in 40 years

August 8, 2006 16:59


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Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah arrived in Turkey on Tuesday, the first visit by a Saudi monarch to the secular Turkish state in 40 years. The trip marks a warming of ties between the oil-rich Islamic kingdom and the overwhelmingly Muslim, but secular Turkish state. "Forty years ago, King Faisal went to Turkey for a summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, but that was not an official visit. King Abdullah's is the first formal visit. A new page will be opened in relations," Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal was quoted as telling the Milliyet newspaper. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose party has roots in Turkey's Islamic movement, is cultivating ties with the Islamic world and the Middle East. King Abdullah is expected to meet with Erdogan and President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in Ankara before traveling to Istanbul to meet with business groups and visit historic sites. King Abdullah, who took the throne last year, has already visited China, India, Malaysia and Pakistan as head of state.

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