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ISTANBUL: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit Turkey next week, the Turkish president said Friday, as Ankara and Riyadh heal a bitter rift following the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

It is Prince Mohammed’s first visit to Turkey since the brutal killing of Saudi insider-turned-critic Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate, which shocked the world and dealt a heavy blow to ties between the regional rivals.

“The crown prince will visit Wednesday, we will welcome him” at the presidential palace in Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters.

Further details of the June 22 trip by the kingdom’s de facto ruler will be announced “over the weekend”, a senior Turkish official told AFP earlier.

The two countries will sign several agreements during his trip as Turkey looks to non-Western partners for financial support as soaring inflation bites.

Erdogan had already paid his visit in late April to Saudi Arabia since the murder, where he met the prince before travelling to Mecca.

Saudi agents killed and dismembered Khashoggi, who wrote for the Washington Post, in October 2018. His remains have never been found.

Turkey angered Saudi Arabia by vigorously pursuing the case at the time, opening an investigation and briefing international media about the lurid details of the murder. Erdogan previously said the “highest levels” of the Saudi government ordered the killing, although he has never blamed the crown prince directly. But with ties on the mend, an Istanbul court halted the trial in absentia of 26 Saudi suspects linked to Khashoggi’s death, transferring the case to Riyadh in April.

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