Erdogan: Saudis planned journalist’s murder
by Harvest Prude
Posted 10/23/18, 12:01 pm
Saudi officials carefully plotted journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder at the country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday in a televised speech contradicting Saudi Arabia’s claim that the killing was accidental. Erdogan called for accountability and asked that the suspects be tried in Turkish courts. Erdogan did not directly accuse the Saudi royal family of involvement but hinted that the initial arrests did not go high enough in the ranks. “It will not satisfy the public by just pinning this kind of matter on a few security and intelligence officers,” he said.
Turkey has not released audio evidence it claims to have of the killing, but Erdogan laid out a timeline of events, alleging the Saudi team began planning the murder days before it occurred. He also asked why Saudi Arabia had not produced Khashoggi’s body even after admitting he died.
Turkey has for days said a Saudi hit team tortured and killed Khashoggi and dismembered his body inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. At first, Saudi Arabia said the journalist, a U.S. resident and Washington Post contributor, exited the consulate alive out the back door. Later, an official statement admitted Khashoggi was killed but attributed his death to a spontaneous brawl. Then an official said he was choked to death.
The Saudi investigation and response to the killing so far has not satisfied a shocked Western world. The investigation resulted in the arrest of 18 suspects and the firing of a few top officials. Critics have said the official explanation of the killing and subsequent actions were meant to produce a scapegoat and shield de facto ruler Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday he’s “not satisfied with what he’s heard.” CIA Director Gina Haspel flew to Turkey to work with investigators.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia still hosted an international investment conference this week, though most Western business and political leaders boycotted the event.
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