‘Ankara, Riyadh poised for greater cooperation’

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King Salman with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (File photo)
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Turkish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Yunus Demirer
Updated 29 October 2017

‘Ankara, Riyadh poised for greater cooperation’

RIYADH: Relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey have witnessed a rapid qualitative and quantitative improvement and are poised for major intensification in near future because the two countries today stand as “main pillars for regional stability,” said Turkish Ambassador Yunus Demirer.
Speaking on the occasion of Turkish national day, the Turkish envoy said that “the depth and diversity of our relations, our joint commitment to stability and well-being of the region, and intertwined interests lead our countries to propel the existing relationship to higher levels. We are two brotherly countries bound by strong historical, social and cultural ties.”
Demirer said that Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and home to the two holy mosques, has always had “a revered place in Turkish hearts and minds.” The two countries are close allies and strong economic partners. “Further deepening of our relations in all fields would not only be beneficial to our people, but also for the entire region,” reaffirmed the envoy.
He said that the centerpiece of our political dialogue has always been the frequency of official visits. For instance, there were more than 25 high-level official visits between Turkey and Saudi Arabia in the last two years.
Referring to the growing relations between the Kingdom and Turkey, the diplomat said that relations between countries should not only be confined to politicians or diplomats but these ties should also be strengthened between cultural leaders, academics and most importantly between individuals. In this context, he said that the number of Saudi nationals visiting Turkey has increased rapidly in the last few years and reached more than 500,000 in 2016.
“This number increased by 37 percent during the first seven months of 2017 compared with the same period of 2016,” said the envoy. He said that business, as well as the tourism traffic, between the Kingdom and Turkey have been growing steadily as Turkey offers a wide range of halal tourism products and services.
Asked about the activities of the special councils set up by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, he said that “our communication and exchanges have found a new special channel since 2016 with the establishment of Saudi-Turkish Coordination Council.
“The Saudi-Turkish Coordination Council is the natural manifestation of the strategic partnership our countries have enjoyed all these years,” he added.
“And now with proper political inertia and structural mechanisms in the form of specialized working groups, the existing potential is said to have finally found direction,” said the ambassador, while referring to the first round of annual talks that took place on Feb. 8, 2017, in Ankara and were devoted to evaluating strategies and means to operate this new council.
He said the council would guide our cooperation in various fields such as culture, technology, sports, labor relations and housing development. “We are sure to see a gradual enhancement in the scope and intensity of our endeavors in a short span of time within the framework of the Saudi-Turkish Cooperation Council,” he noted.
Responding to a query about the Turkish position on Syria, Yemen and the Middle East peace process, the envoy said: “Saudi Arabia and Turkey have common views and approaches toward a range of regional issue like the Palestinians’ plight, the Syrian conflict, the situation in Iraq and combatting terrorism.”
“Having said that, it should not come as a surprise that the structural initiatives between the two countries should reflect the very sentiments that join our two countries in solidarity,” he added.
On the economic front, he said that the two countries have forged closer ties. “A careful look at the composition of our trade reveals an improvement in the complementarity index, which means that our imports and exports have evolved in a way to better suit one another’s needs,” said the diplomat. A total of 90 percent of Turkey’s imports from Saudi Arabia are composed of oil and petrochemicals, he noted.
On the other hand, Turkey’s main exports to Saudi Arabia are industrial products. Turkey also follows with great interest and appreciation the unfolding of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, he said. “My government is also pursuing a similar initiative called the Vision 2023, which seeks to boost developmental efforts until the centennial of our republic,” the envoy added. “All along this thorny path of economic and social transformation, Saudi Arabia can be sure to find a reliable partner and a friend in Turkey,” he said.


Saudi efforts for promotion of human rights lauded

Updated 10 December 2019

Saudi efforts for promotion of human rights lauded

  • Saudi Arabia has spent more than $86 billion in over 81 countries between 1996 and 2018

RIYADH: Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, president of the Kingdom’s Human Rights Commission, said on Tuesday Saudi Arabia is keen to play a constructive role to maintain international peace and security, prevent conflicts and promote a culture of tolerance.
He said this during a meeting with Marielle de Sarnez, who is a member of the French National Assembly, in Riyadh.
They reviewed Saudi efforts in supporting human rights and the ongoing reforms in the Kingdom with a particular reference to the protection of human rights.
The French politician praised the developments taking place in the Kingdom in all sectors particularly human rights and women’s empowerment.

Saudi assistance
On the occasion of Human Rights Day, which is observed globally on Dec. 10, Al-Awwad said: “(Protection of) human rights is an issue of great international concern especially in the light of the rise in wars, intolerance, terrorism, hatred and racism.”
Highlighting the Kingdom’s role in humanitarian causes, the rights chief said that Saudi Arabia has spent more than $86 billion in over 81 countries between 1996 and 2018.
Commenting on the Kingdom’s keenness to preserve global and regional peace, he cited the Riyadh agreement between the legitimate Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council as an example.
He reiterated the Kingdom’s historical stance on the Palestinian issue.

Symposium
The Human Rights Commission organized on Tuesday a symposium titled “Human Rights, A Vision for the Future” in Riyadh.
Professionals in the field of human rights from inside and outside the Kingdom participated in this symposium, which was attended by a number of diplomats.
The symposium highlighted the Kingdom’s role in protecting and promoting human rights in accordance with its national and international commitments in this field. It also shed light on the Kingdom’s cooperation with various human rights organizations and reviewed the importance it attaches to the independence of the judiciary, the rule of law, safeguarding the rights of subjects of law, and respecting the course of justice.
The symposium discussed the most prominent developments in human rights during the reign of King Salman, safeguarding the privacy and rights of children in light of the digital age, and providing protection to the elderly as well as the challenges facing providing them with a suitable environment.
Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Khayyal, vice president of the Human Rights Commission, emphasized in a speech he delivered on behalf of the commission’s president, Dr. Al-Awwad, that Saudi Arabia, led by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has made strides in the field of human rights.
“Saudi Arabia works continuously to achieve sustainable development through Vision 2030, in which the youth actively participate and play a major role in positive social change to contribute to more development achievements,” he said.
UN Resident Coordinator Nathalie Fustier stressed in her speech that the Kingdom has made many achievements in the field of human rights and that these efforts deserve to be saluted.
She added that the youth account for 25 percent of the Kingdom’s population and are the heart of society as they create the future of the next generations.
Fustier pointed out that at a global level, all development goals stipulate the protection of rights, including the rights of young people as they deserve many advantages and must be provided with the maximum benefits and more than the well-being and rights they have.