Istanbul, Sep 30: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has on Monday said Ankara will keep pushing for justice and truth behind the murder of US journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year in Saudi Arabian consulate of Istanbul on October 2, stating some of his killers seemed to be escaping justice.
Erdogan said his nation sought to acknowledge where Khashoggi’s body was and who ordered or authorized the operation, suggesting the move was carried by “shadow state” agents in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MbS, in an opinion piece in the Washington Post, said he had “absolutely not” directed the killing of Khashoggi, although he was ready to bore the responsibility of his murder as the prominent leader of the nation.
“The murder of Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi was arguably the most influential and controversial incident of the 21st century, barring the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. No other event since 9/11 has posed such a serious threat to the international order or challenged the conventions that the world has come to take for granted,” Erdoğan’s piece read.
Since the US presented its CIA assessment over Khashoggi’s murder, eleven suspects have been put on court trial in secretive case proceedings but only some of them have been held accountable.
He said the Turkish authorities shared their findings with Saudi, as well as several other nations, including Russia, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France, adding, “We have also cooperated with the international investigation led by Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.”
According to Reuters news reports, a report by the United Nations (UN) has called on MbS and other top-level Riyadh officials to be probed. As per the CIA assessment and other international authorities, they believe MbS ordered the mission – allegations to which Riyadh and the crown prince have reiterated denial.
In an article for the post, the Turkish president said the fact the killers ventured on diplomatic visas and “turned a diplomatic building into a crime scene”.
Erdogan said Turkey adopted transparency police during the killing of the US journalist, adding the nation made use of used all its means in order to inform the world community of the case developments.
“Perhaps more dangerous is the impunity that some of the killers seem to enjoy back in the kingdom,” he wrote, adding there was lack of transparency over the proceedings.
“The 15-member assassination squad that murdered Khashoggi inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul and chopped his body into pieces served the interests of a shadow state within the kingdom’s government,” he said, without elaborating.
Erdogan said Ankara continue to view Riyadh as an ally and friend, but doesn’t mean Turkey would keep silent. Moreover, he asked Saudi Arabia to extradite Khashoggi’s murderers to “Turkey’s response to The Post contributing Khashoggi’s killing is based on our desire to uphold the rules-based international system.”
He alleged the lack of public access to court hearings and the allegation that some of Khashoggi’s perpetrators enjoy de facto freedom fail to meet the international community’s expectations.