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Saudi Arabia removes name of Ottoman Sultan from Riyadh street

June 15, 2020 at 11:31 am

Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman I street sign in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia [Twitter]

The Riyadh Municipality has removed a street sign bearing the name of the renowned street, also known as Suleiman the Magnificent, from one of its streets, local media reported.

The Riyadh Municipality did not give a reason for the move, however social media users believe strained relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey could be the trigger.

Over the past few years, relations between Saudi and Turkey have been increasingly strained by diplomatic differences and by each other’s involvement in the Syrian civil war, and especially by Turkey’s support of Qatar following the ongoing blockade imposed on it by the kingdom, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt in 2017.

Relations reached breaking point with the murder of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October last year. Following months of investigations into the murder and a UN report concluding that Saudi agents killed Khashoggi under the direct command of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Turkey has repeatedly called for those responsible to be brought to justice.

READ: Egypt religious authority says Ottomans ‘occupied’ Istanbul 

Consequently, the Kingdom has been pushing a campaign to encourage its tourists to boycott Turkey through all possible means, including the purchase of products, consumption of foods, sale of properties, dealings with Turkish companies, and especially tourism to the country. The campaign has garnered support amongst Saudi royals and figures, a famous case being when Riyadh’s influential governor Faisal Bin Bandar declined an offer of Turkish coffee, triggering a call for a boycott of Turkish products.

In August last year, Saudi’s Ministry of Education made a series of modifications to its history books, altering the legacy of the Ottoman Empire  and referring to it as an “occupation”.