TURKEY’S president has said Saudi officials murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in their Istanbul consulate after plotting his death for days.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan contradicted Saudi Arabia’s explanation that the writer was accidentally killed and demanded that the kingdom reveals the identities of all involved, regardless of their rank.
Mr Erdogan also said he wants Saudi Arabia to allow 18 suspects that it detained for the Saudi’s killing to be tried in Turkish courts. The Saudi government has said it is conducting its own investigation and will punish those involved.
“To blame such an incident on a handful of security and intelligence members would not satisfy us or the international community,” Mr Erdogan said in a speech to ruling party MPs in parliament.
“Saudi Arabia has taken an important step by admitting the murder. As of now we expect of them to openly bring to light those responsible – from the highest ranked to the lowest – and to bring them to justice,” the Turkish president said.
Mr Erdogan’s speech was previously pitched as revealing the “naked truth” about Mr Khashoggi’s death.
Instead it put a named source to information already circulated by anonymous officials and the Turkish press in the days since the columnist for The Washington Post walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
However, he kept pressure on the kingdom with his demands for Turkish prosecution of the suspects as well as punishment for the plot’s masterminds.
“All evidence gathered shows that Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of a savage murder. To cover up such a savagery would hurt the human conscience,” Mr Erdogan said.
He did not mention Saudi Arabia’s assertive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his speech, though officials linked to the royal have been implicated in the killing.
The kingdom has said the heir-apparent of the world’s top oil exporter was not involved, but any major decision must be signed off by the highest powers within its ruling Al Saud family.
International scepticism has intensified since Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that Mr Khashoggi died in a brawl. The case has shocked the world and raised suspicions that a Saudi hit squad planned Mr Khashoggi’s killing after he walked into the consulate on October 2, and then attempted to cover it up.