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Saudi Arabia has begun implementing a “strategic plan” to confront the Turkish government after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman decided he was being “too patient” with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the wake of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.
Axar.az reports citing Middle East Eye that the plan is detailed in a confidential report based on open- and closed-source intelligence prepared by the kingdom’s ally, the United Arab Emirates.
It reveals that in Riyadh in May, orders were given to implement the strategic plan to confront the Turkish government.
The aim of the plan was to use “all possible tools to pressure Erdogan’s government, weaken him, and keep him busy with domestic issues in the hope that he will be brought down by the opposition, or occupy him with confronting crisis after crisis, and push him to slip up and make mistakes which the media would surely pick up on”.
“The kingdom would start to target the Turkish economy and press towards the gradual termination of Saudi investment in Turkey, the gradual decrease of Saudi tourists visiting Turkey while creating alternative destinations for them, decreasing Saudi import of Turkish goods, and most importantly minimizing Turkish regional role in Islamic matters,” the report says.
According to the report, Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, took the decision to confront Turkey following the assassination of Khashoggi by a team of Saudi agents in their country’s Istanbul consulate.
“President Erdogan … went too far in his campaign smearing the kingdom, especially the person of the crown prince, using in the most reprehensible manner the case of Khashoggi,” the reports says
Last week came the first public sign of the campaign detailed in the Emirati document coming to life.
Saudi authorities blocked 80 Turkish trucks transporting textile products and chemicals from entering the kingdom through its Duba port.
Three hundred containers carrying fruit and vegetables from Turkey had also been held in Jeddah’s port, according to a Turkish official on condition of anonymity.
The number of Saudi tourists visiting Turkey decreased 15 percent (from 276,000 to 234,000) in the first six months of 2019, according to official data released by the Turkish tourism ministry.
A senior Turkish official, speaking anonymously, said the existence of a Saudi strategy to punish Turkey over its stance on the Khashoggi case wasn't surprising.
"We are aware of what they are doing. It is almost public, to the extent that you could see their activities on Saudi-backed social media and Saudi state media,” the official told noting that they had openly called for a boycott.
Erdogan phoned the king on Thursday, raising the problem of Turkish exports being held at Saudi ports.
Another Turkish official, also speaking anonymously, said Erdogan's phone call with the Saudi king was cordial and focused on regional developments, such as Syria and the Palestine question.
In the same call, Erdogan invited King Salman and his family, including the crown prince, to Turkey.
2019.08.06 / 13:12