The Al-Riyadh Saudi newspaper published, on Wednesday 10, a mocking cartoon criticizing Erdogan’s recent attempts to improve the Turkish-Russian relations by modifying his discourse with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The cynical drawing showed Erdogan as standing in front of a door on which the word, “Russia” was written and the Russian flag was drawn. Erdogan was drawn as knocking at the door while he was sweating in tension. There were high stairs behind Erdogan indicating that he was descending from a high place, suggesting that he offered many concessions in order to improve relations with Russia.
Abdul Khaleq Abdullah, the advisor of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, has re-published the cartoon on his Twitter account.
However, this caricature raised a lot of controversy in the Saudi street and on the social networking sites. A number of Saudi activists created a hashtag titled “#alriyadh_newspaper_mocks_at_Erdogan” . This hashtag received a significant interaction on the social networking site, Twitter. Some activists criticized the cartoon against President Erdogan, while others defended the viewpoint of the cartoonist and the newspaper in criticizing the Turkish-Russian rapprochement.
It is worth mentioning that the Al-Riyadh newspaper used to publish cartoons criticizing Iran and sometimes focusing on the criticism of some of the internal issues in the Kingdom. However, this is the first time that the newspaper publishes a cartoon explicitly attacking President Erdogan and Turkey, despite the Saudi support to the Turkish regime.
Is this a new Saudi attitude in dealing with the Turkish state? Or is there a wing in the Saudi government that is not pleased with the alliance between Saudi Arabia and Turkey?