Çavuşoğlu to visit Saudi Arabia on May 11

Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu is set to visit Saudi Arabia on May 11, marking the first such high-level visit since the 2018 murder of a Saudi dissident journalist, Middle East Eye reported on Wednesday, citing anonymous sources.

The visit arrives and Ankara and Riyadh are seeking to thaw relations that have been strained since the death of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and the kingdom’s extension last year of its unofficial boycott on Turkish goods.

Saudi authorities have advocated for an unofficial boycott of Turkish goods and services since October, after Erdoğan accused the Gulf kingdom and its allies of destabilising the region. 

The visit, Çavusoglu's first trip to Riyadh in four years, was scheduled during a phone call between Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan and Saudi King Salman on Tuesday night, MEE said.

The pair discussed bilateral ties in a call, the second conversation between the two leaders in less than a month, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

In addition to making attempts to repair bilateral ties during the visit, Çavuşoğlu is expected to make the closure of Turkish schools a top issue, MEE cited sources as saying.

Five Turkish schools in the Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina were shut down at the end of last year despite efforts by Turkish authorities to intervene, Sözcü newspaper reported in March, citing a senior education ministry official.

Anadolu last month reported that Saudi Arabia would close eight more schools affiliated to the Turkish education authority, with the school administrations having been informed by the Saudi Education Ministry over the decision.

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