Turkish, Saudi leaders speak by phone ahead of G20 summit

FILE - In this March 26, 2020, file photo, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, participates in a teleconference with G20 leaders amid the coronavirus outbreak, in Istanbul. The Nov. 21-22, 2020, Group of 20 summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, will be held online this year because of the coronavirus. The pandemic has offered the G-20 an opportunity to prove how such bodies can facilitate international cooperation in crises — but has also underscored their shortcomings. (Turkish Presidency via AP, Pool, File)

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman by phone ahead of the G-20 virtual summit hosted by the kingdom, the president’s office said Saturday.

The leaders discussed improving relations between the two countries, the statement said.

Ties between Turkey and Saudi Arabia deteriorated sharply after the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, adding to tensions over Turkey’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, viewed by Riyadh as a terrorist group.

“President Erdogan and King Salman agreed to keep channels of dialogue open to improve bilateral ties and overcome issues,” the Turkish presidency said.

Saudi Arabia is hosting the virtual meeting of G-20 leaders on Saturday and Sunday in line with coronavirus restrictions.

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