Erdogan urges Saudi prosecutor to find out who ordered Khashoggi hit
ISTANBUL, Oct 30, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
has called on Saudi Arabia’s chief prosecutor, who visited on Tuesday the
consulate in Istanbul where Jamal Khashoggi was murdered, to investigate who
ordered the hit on the journalist.
Khashoggi’s death has brought near unprecedented international scrutiny on
Saudi Arabia and its powerful Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, and the
journalist’s fiancee has accused the regime of a massive cover-up.
Erdogan, who says a 15-person team travelled from Riyadh to Istanbul to
kill Khashoggi, has pressed Saudi authorities to reveal the truth —
including the location of the Washington Post contributor’s missing body.
“Who sent these 15 people? As Saudi public prosecutor, you have to ask that
question, so you can reveal it,” Erdogan told reporters in Ankara on Tuesday,
shortly after the head of the Saudi investigation entered the kingdom’s
“Now we have to solve this case. No need to prevaricate, it makes no sense
to try to save certain people,” said Erdogan, who has stopped short of
directly blaming the Saudi government.
Saudi Arabia is seeking to draw a line under the crisis after offering a
series of differing narratives following the journalist’s disappearance.
Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb travelled to Istanbul this week after
being the first Saudi official to acknowledge the killing was “premeditated”
based on the results of Turkey’s investigation.
He met Istanbul chief prosecutor Irfan Fidan on Monday and asked to be
given the full findings of the Turkish investigation, including all images
and audio recordings, Turkish broadcaster TRT reported.
The Turkish investigators rejected the request, TRT said, instead calling
on the Saudi prosecutor to reveal information about the location of
They also repeated Erdogan’s call for the 18 suspects detained by Saudi
Arabia over the murder be sent to Turkey for trial, according to TRT. Riyadh
has refused the request.
Mojeb met with Turkish investigators again on Tuesday before visiting the
consulate for around an hour and a half and leaving without making a
– ‘Covered up’ –
Khashoggi, 59, was an insider in Saudi royal circles before going into
self-imposed exile in the United States last year after falling out with the
He entered the consulate to obtain paperwork for his marriage to his
Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.
On Monday, Cengiz called on world leaders — and in particular US President
Donald Trump — to do more to expose what really happened.
“I am extremely disappointed by the stance of the leadership of many
countries, particularly in the US,” Cengiz told a memorial event in London.
“President Trump should help reveal the truth and ensure justice be served.
He should not allow my fiance’s murder to be covered up.”
She said she believed the Saudi regime knew where Khashoggi’s body was and
called for the “evil criminals and their cowardly political masters” to be
held to account.
Trump has called the case “one of the worst cover-ups in history”, but
warned against halting a Saudi arms deal to increase pressure on Riyadh,
saying it would harm US jobs.
– ‘Local co-conspirators’? –
Riyadh initially insisted that Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, but
as pressure grew, Saudi state media changed the story and said Khashoggi died
when an argument descended into a brawl.
The story was undercut by footage, which Erdogan confirmed, of a Saudi
official acting as a body double for Khashoggi, wearing the journalist’s
clothes when leaving the consulate to pretend to be the dead man.
The Saudi leadership has since blamed a “rogue operation”.
The search for Khashoggi’s body continues, after gruesome reports in the
Turkish media alleged it was cut up into multiple pieces.
There were also claims that the body was given to “local co-conspirators”,
and Erdogan urged Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir to identify them.
“Again either the Saudi foreign minister or the 18 suspects must explain
who the local co-conspirators are,” said Erdogan, who has indicated his
country had more evidence about the killing to reveal.
“Let’s know who this co-conspirator is, we can shed further light.”
Beyond the detention of the 18 suspects, five Saudi intelligence chiefs
have been sacked, including two who were part of Prince Mohammed’s inner
The affair has tarnished the image the crown prince, the de facto leader of
the oil-rich Gulf nation, who has positioned himself as a Saudi reformer.
He has denounced the murder as “repulsive” and strongly denied any