Previously, we saw that Egypt supported Saudi Arabia as opposed to Turkey when Saudi Arabia promised to build a bridge over the Red Sea.

In the case of the recent summit in Kuala Lumpur, Indonesia's president and Pakistan's PM are not attending because of Saudi protests. but, Malaysia is going ahead with the summit.

My question is, why is Saudi Arabia able to assert influence on Egypt, Indonesia, and Pakistan?

Why don't Turkey, Malaysia, and Qatar need Saudi support?

1 Answer 1


When one country is trying to leverage support for another country into political influence, there are two factors to consider:

  • How much support does the recipient country need? If the economic or security situation looks bleak, countries will accept support from almost anyone.
  • How closely aligned is the political culture of the two countries? Easy to be "bribed" into doing something one would do anyway.

Turkey has a strong and varied economy compared to most other Muslim countries, even after the recent turmoil. It does not look very strong compared to the EU, but that's a rather high standard. It is also a NATO member and draws security from that.

Historically Turkey sees itself as a major regional power. That puts it onto a collision course with Saudi Arabia, which used to be merely rich and now wants to be powerful as well.

  • What is about Malaysia then? Why don't they need Saudi support?
    – user25524
    Dec 19, 2019 at 10:20
  • Also, why do Indonesia and Egypt consider themselves as weak?
    – user25524
    Dec 19, 2019 at 10:21
  • 1
    @user366312, remember that I gave two bullet points. One is the need, the other is how agreeable (or disagreeable) the foreign influence is. Note that both Malaysia and Turkey have a per-capita GDP around $10k while Egypt and Indonesia are below $4k. Qatar is around $70k and Saudi Arabia around $23k.
    – o.m.
    Dec 19, 2019 at 12:42

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