Where is Khashoggi’s body, Erdogan asks Saudi Arabia

Khashoggi,Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photograph courtesy Wikimedia
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photograph courtesy Wikimedia

The Saudi officials who killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi in their Istanbul consulate must reveal the location of his body, Turkey’s president said Friday in remarks that were sharply critical of the kingdom’s handling of the case, PTI reported.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said Saudi Arabia’s chief prosecutor will arrive in Turkey on Sunday as part of the investigation and will meet with Turkish counterparts.

On Thursday, Saudi prosecutors said Khashoggi’s killing was premeditated, citing Turkish evidence and changing the country’s account again to try to ease international outrage over the slaying of a prominent critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Turkey has other “information and evidence” about the killing by Saudi officials after Khashoggi entered the consulate on October 2, and it will eventually reveal that information, Erdogan said without elaborating.

“There is no point in being too hasty,” he said in an indication that Turkey is prepared to maintain pressure on Saudi Arabia, even as the kingdom struggles for ways to end the crisis.

CIA director Gina Haspel was in Turkey earlier this week to review evidence, and she briefed US President Donald Trump in Washington on Thursday.

What Trump called “one of the worst cover-ups in the history of cover-ups” was revealed to the world by Turkish leaks of information, including references to purported audio recordings of the killing, and security camera footage of the Saudi officials who were involved as they moved around Istanbul.

Key mysteries remaining include whether the killing was carried out with the knowledge of the crown prince, who denies it, and the location of Khashoggi’s body.

“It is clear that he has been killed but where is it? You have to show the body,” Erdogan said Friday during an address to Turkey’s ruling party leaders.

The Turkish president criticised initial Saudi statements that claimed Khashoggi had left the consulate unharmed after going there for paperwork related to his planned marriage to a Turkish woman.

“He will leave the consulate and not take his fiancee with him? Such childish statements do not go hand in hand with statesmanship,” said Erdogan, again urging Saudi Arabia to turn over 18 suspects that the kingdom said it had arrested and would punish for the crime.

“If you cannot get them to speak … then hand them over to us and let us put them on trial,” he added.

Meanwhile, Khashoggi’s son, Salah, left Saudi Arabia after the kingdom revoked a travel ban, allowing him to travel to the United States.

 

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