Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz arrived in Turkey today for a state visit, the last leg of a four-nation tour that has included visits to Britain, Germany and Italy. King Abdullah previously paid a state visit to Turkey in August 2006.
After receiving a red carpet welcome at the airport in Ankara, King Abdullah and President Abdullah Gul met for talks at the presidential palace.
The Saudi-Turkish talks addressed Islamic and international issues, in particular the situation in Palestine and the Middle East peace process. Both leaders stressed the importance of reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that includes the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, as called for in the Arab Peace Initiative.
The King and President Gul also discussed Lebanon, Iraq as well as areas of bilateral cooperation.
In addition, Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal held a separate round of talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan to continue discussion of the issues raised by King Abdullah and President Gul.
Saudi-Turkish relations date back to 1929, when the two countries signed a friendship treaty. Since then, relations between the two countries have strengthened and expanded in political, economic and cultural areas. The volume of trade between Saudi Arabia and Turkey totaled $3.3 billion in 2006, and more than 250,000 Turks travel to the Kingdom each year to perform pilgrimages.