Turkey says Khashoggi murder a 'world issue'
Turkey has described the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a world issue and has repeated its calls on the Saudi Arabian leadership for a full-pledged investigation on the incident while underlining that it has no particular intention to give a damage on the image of the Saudi royal family.
“We are following the process. But as I have said, this is not only an issue of Turkey but of the whole world and most particularly it’s very important for the press,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a press conference after the completion of the G20 Summit in Argentina late Dec 1.
Erdoğan informed that the killing of the Saudi journalist was on the agenda of some world leaders in Buenos Aires as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attended the summit in his first appearance in an international gathering outside his country after the killing of Khashoggi on Nov 2 in the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul.
Khashoggi was killed and allegedly dismembered by a 15-man Saudi team who has been specifically deployed to Istanbul for the murder, according to evidence and intelligence provided by the Turkish law enforcement. The United States intelligence has argued that the crime was committed upon a direct instruction of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi officials have categorically denied allegations.
Reiterating that Turkey’s sole objective was to follow the requirements of the international law and to find out the perpetrators and those who instructed them to commit this crime, President Erdoğan stressed that Saudi leadership had to admit the murder as a result of Turkey’s determinacy.
“We have never seen this incident as a political issue. For us, this is a bloody murder and will remain so. I should sadly stress that our judicial and administrative bodies have not received required support in probing the murder from Saudi Arabia,” Erdoğan stated.
MBS highlights presumption of innocence
Erdoğan informed that Crown Prince mentioned about the principle of presumption of innocence in his response to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s urging that the Saudi authorities should genuinely probe and hold all perpetrators accountable for their acts.
“It’s not possible to accept the Crown Prince’s statement that ‘We can’t charge anybody until found guilty’,” Erdoğan said, citing inconsistent explanations from various high-level Saudi officials over the Khashoggi murder from the very first day.
Turkey has always been transparent and cooperative in probing the murder and shared all evidence it has with all countries that demanded them including a seven-minute long audio recording, President said.
“We are still ready to do so because this is not only an issue of Turkey. We even demanded (from Saudi Arabia) to give these suspects to us as the crime was committed in Istanbul. They don’t do this. They tell us that 22 persons have been detained and five of them will be tried to get death penalty,” Erdoğan said.
Shedding a light on murder to the advantage of Saudi
The whereabouts of the Khashoggi’s body, the identity of the local collaborator are still unknown, Erdoğan stressed, saying “Neither the Islamic world nor the international community will be satisfied unless all the perpetrators, including those who gave the order, are fully identified.”
“We never have an intention to tarnish the Saudi Arabian state and the royal family. We believe that shedding light on all aspects of the murder and bringing all the responsible before the court will be to the advantage of Saudi Arabia,” he stated.
The closed-door meeting between two leaders was held on the sidelines of the G20 Leader's Summit in the capital Buenos Aires.
Erdoğan alo said a U.S. sanctions busting case against the state-owned Turkish lender Halkbank was also discussed during the 50-minute meeting.
Turkish president also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Argentina's President Mauricio Macri in Buenos Aires.