Saudi Arabia still has questions to answer over Khashoggi: Turkish FM

Saudi Arabia still has questions to answer over Khashoggi: Turkish FM

Saudi Arabia still has questions to answer over Khashoggi: Turkish FM

Suspects in the murder of Khashoggi should be held trial in Turkey according to the Vienna Convention, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Oct. 25.

Turkey has no intention of taking the case regarding the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to an international court but would share information if an international investigation was launched, he said during a news conference with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki.

Çavuşoğlu also said Turkey had shared information with some parties who sought additional information.

“There are still questions that need answers,” he said, demanding the Saudis to explain why the 18 were arrested.

The foreign minister urged Saudi Arabia to provide answers, as to who had ordered the killing of Khashoggi and what happened to his body.

“Who gave them the orders? Where is the body? You admit they did it, but why are they not saying where? His family also wants to know and pay their final tribute,” Çavuşoğlu said.

“We have shared some of the information and findings the prosecutor has allowed us to share, which are legal to share with those who have sought additional information,” he said, when asked whether Turkey is sharing evidence with other countries.

Asked if the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has reached audio recording of killing of Khashoggi, the minister said he “will not be able to answer this specific question.”

“You should ask our intelligence chief,” he said, adding that Turkey would “share documents and evidence in our hands with countries and institutions who want it” in line with permission from the Istanbul prosecutor.

Turkish police investigating water sample from Saudi consulate well
Turkish police investigating water sample from Saudi consulate well

CIA Director Gina Haspel listened to the audio recording of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi’s last moments during a visit to Turkey this week, The Washington Post and Reuters reported.

On Oct. 20, before the visit by the CIA director, United States President Donald Trump told reporters they have not heard the recordings yet.

“So far, we’ve heard about it, but nobody has seen it,” adding that, to his knowledge, that included the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the CIA.

Western media earlier reported an audio recording purportedly documenting Khashoggi’s killing attributed on anonymous Turkish officials.

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, was last seen on Oct. 2 when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia first denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance on Oct. 2 but a Saudi official eventually attributed his death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to a botched attempt to return him to the kingdom.

Murder of Khashoggi 'premeditated': Saudi prosecutor
Murder of Khashoggi premeditated: Saudi prosecutor

Turkey has dismissed Saudi efforts to blame rogue operatives and urged the kingdom to search “top to bottom” for those responsible for the killing, which has stirred international outrage and condemnation.

Meanwhile, European Union lawmakers are calling for an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia as well as a ban on equipment that could be used in any government crackdown. 

In a vote on Oct. 25 for a resolution calling on member countries “to impose an EU-wide arms embargo on Saudi Arabia” in response to the killing of Khashoggi, 325 lawmakers voted for, one voted against and 19 abstained. The non-binding resolution also demands a halt to exports “of surveillance systems and other dual-use items that may be used in Saudi Arabia for the purposes of repression.”