Khashoggi killing: Turkey president accuses ‘highest levels’ of Saudi govt
The order to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi came from the ‘highest levels’ of Saudi government, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed, as he called for the ‘puppetmasters’ to be unmasked.
Erdogan wrote he did not believe ‘for a second’ that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman had ordered ‘the hit’, in an opinion article for The Washington Post, although he refrained from directly accusing the Middle Eastern kingdom’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Khashoggi, a columnist for the newspaper, frequently criticised the Saudi government. He disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, reports The Independent.
The Saudi government initially insisted Khashoggi had left the consulate, but later admitted that he died in an unplanned ‘rogue operation’. The kingdom’s public prosecutor Saud Mojeb subsequently said that the attack was premeditated.
Accusing the Saudi consul in Istanbul of lying ‘through his teeth’, Erdogan accused Mojeb of refusing to cooperate, stalling the process and not answering simple questions.
‘As responsible members of the international community, we must reveal the identities of the puppetmasters behind Khashoggi’s killing,’ he wrote. He added that the Saudi officials who were still trying to cover up the killing should be discovered.
In a stern warning to Turkey’s near neighbour, he said: ‘No one should dare to commit such acts on the soil of a Nato ally again. If anyone chooses to ignore that warning, they will face severe consequences.’
The opinion piece was published less than 24-hours after one of his advisers said Saudi government operatives had ‘dissolved’ Khashoggi’s body after murdering and dismembering him.