Saudi Arabia says it deposited $5 billion into the Turkish central bank, likely helping Ankara firm up its long-weakening currency, the lira, after last month’s massive earthquake that struck southeast Turkey and northern Syria.
The deposit provides a capstone for just how far relations have improved between the kingdom and Turkey after years of tensions between the nations, particularly after the 2018 killing and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Turkey also backed Qatar in a years-long boycott by the kingdom, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
The deposit will also likely help boost Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of upcoming elections this year.
The kingdom makes the announcement via a statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency, describing it as “a testament to the close cooperation and historical ties that exist between the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Turkey and its brotherly people.” It said the money came from the Saudi Fund for Development.
The statement offers no details on how the cash would be used or if the kingdom could call for the sum to be returned. However, such deposits can help firm up exchange rates for a nation’s currency against other currencies internationally.