Saudi Arabia’s smart response to Turkey’s Character Assassination Campaign against MBS


Erdogan’s obsession with establishing Istanbul as the capital city for a revived Ottoman Empire was his driving force.

On 2 October 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Saudi dissident/journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing after going into the Saudi consulate. Erdogan found a great opportunity to carry out a character assassination of Saudi’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. There has been a cold war brewing for some time now between the two countries.

It started with Turkey’s president Erdogan self-proclaiming himself as the caliphate for all Muslims and demanding that the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah should not be under Saudi’s jurisdiction. This clearly encroaches Saudi as a sovereign nation.

Khashoggi’s death is still debatable since there has been a report by AlJazeera and news outlet of Khashoggi leaving and possibly abducted. The posts were both later deleted. Then there was the fiance that was later exposed as a fake. The only tangible evidence against the Saudis is them confessing for a crime the may not have committed.

After King Salman of Saudi Arabia spoke in a statement that Khashoggi was indeed murdered by a team of rogue agents, Erdogan launched his campaign to character assassinate the Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Erdogan’s obsession with establishing Istanbul as the capital city for a revived Ottoman Empire was his driving force. Turkey for the whole year has been keeping the story alive as we approach October we are expecting another major campaign commemorating Khashoggi debatable assassination.

In response to Erdogan’s vicious campaign, the Saudis have made modifications in some parts of the social studies and citizenship subjects pertaining to the historical aspect of the Ottoman Empire.

A significant decline in trade between Turkey where Saudis have been calling for the boycott of Turkish goods. The Saudi government is probably eager for its trade agreement with Turkey to expire to limit trades with Ankara. The Saudi embassy in Ankara issued a warning to travelers that passport theft and petty crime was increasing in Turkey. Additionally visitors from Saudi Arabia to Turkey dropped 17 percent during the first seven months of 2019.

Adhwan Al-Ahmari, a Saudi journalist and writer, and the Editor in chief of the “Independent Arabia” tweeted in Arabic that “Saudi Arabia preferred not to sever relations with Turkey, but chose to activate its tourism boycott and warn against it and its danger, supporting Cyprus in its dispute from Ankara. In contrast, Erdogan’s troubling new parties emerged after Istanbul’s fall and loss. The Caliph is mired in his conflicts, confusing him better than leaving him.”

Saudi has recently strengthened its ties with Turkeys historic enemy “Cyprus” by opening an embassy in Cyprus. Saudi Minister of foreign affairs in his statement, “We support the legitimacy and sovereignty of Cyprus”.

The rich oil country of Saudi Arabia has leverage over Turkey. Turkey needs Saudi Arabia’s tourists and trade benefits for its own (currently) deteriorating economy. Nonetheless, Turkey is still expected to further continue its character assassination attempts which, as mentioned earlier, is expected to dramatically increase in October. These tensions will probably ease when Erdogan is finally out of office.

Article first published on Syllogismos.

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