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Khashoggi probe: Erdogan sends potential warning to Saudi crown prince

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mohammed bin salman erdogan
Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to fire a warning shot at
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday while discussing the
investigation into Jamal Khashoggi’s death.

Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters; Ali
Unal/AP


  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to fire
    a warning shot at Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on
    Tuesday.
  • Speaking about the investigation into Jamal Khashoggi’s
    killing, Erdogan said on Tuesday: “There is no point in
    procrastinating or trying to save some people from under
    this.”
  • Erdogan didn’t name anyone, but this likely meant Crown
    Prince Mohammed.
  • Saudi officials have been focused on distancing its
    leadership from Khashoggi’s death and combatting claims
    that the crown prince was involved in the operation.

The Turkish president hinted that the investigation into
journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death was trying to “protect certain
people,” a possible warning shot to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the Saudi public prosecutor on
Tuesday to “reveal” the people responsible for Khashoggi’s
killing, which
took place in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2
.

“Our prosecutor asked who sent the group that came here and said
that this needed to be looked at,” Erdogan said.

“Saudi officials need to reveal the local cooperators. Let us
know whoever this person is and we will find them.

“We cannot leave this issue unsolved, we need to solve it now.
There is no point in procrastinating or trying to save some
people from under this.”

Though Erdogan didn’t say who “some people| might be, it is
likely that he meant Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi officials have been focused on distancing its
leadership from Khashoggi’s death and
combatting 
claims
that Crown Prince Mohammed was involved in the
operation
. Their claims have been doubted by experts,
however, and Saudi
Arabia has shifted its version of events multiple
times
.

At the same time, Turkish officials have been challenging the
Saudi account of Khashoggi’s killing for weeks through
intelligence leaks and bold public statements.

Last week, Turkish and Saudi leaders
touted their countries’ relationships
, suggesting that
Erdogan did not suspect the Saudi monarchy personally, but the
cordial tone has not persisted.


khashoggi mbs
A
composite image of Khashoggi and Crown Prince
Mohammed.

Associated Press/Virginia
Mayo; Nicolas Asfouri – Pool/Getty


Search for the “local cooperator”

Erdogan on Tuesday also renewed calls to Riyadh to reveal the
identity of a local Turkish cooperator whom Saudis claim was
given Khashoggi’s body.

He also pressed the Saudis to allow Turkey to prosecute the
suspects involved in the killing. Saudi Arabia has said it wants
to prosecute them itself.

Saudi prosecutors anonymously told
Reuters
and the
Associated Press
last week that Khashoggi’s killers rolled up
the journalist’s body after killing him in a sort of fabric, and
handed it over to an unnamed collaborator in Istanbul for
disposal.

“Saudi officials need to reveal the local cooperators. Let us
know whoever this person is and we will find them,” he told
reporters at Turkey’s parliament, according to Reuters.

Erdogan also repeated his demand that the 18 suspects Saudi
Arabia arrested over Khashoggi’s killing — which include the 15
agents who flew to Istanbul — should be prosecuted in Turkey.

He said on Tuesday: “Yesterday, our prosecutor told the Saudi
prosecutor that the prosecution could be carried out in Turkey
since the location of the crime is Istanbul.”


Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Erdogan frequently employs
tough rhetoric to emphasize Turkish national
security.

AP Photo/Ali
Unal


Erdogan the strongman

Erdogan’s latest comments squared with a strongman rhetoric he
routinely employs in his speeches.

He has previously emphasized that Khashoggi’s killing took place
in Turkey — albeit on diplomatic Saudi property — and said it was
therefore up to his country to uncover the truth.

Erdogan has for years cracked down on his country’s military
officials, intelligence agents, and journalists, in the name of
national security. This grew more intense after members of the
Turkish armed forces attempted
to launch a coup against him
 in July 2016.

Lisel Hintz, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University,

told Business Insider last week
 that Erdogan likely
“took this as a personal affront that Saudi Arabia would carry
out this action on his soil.”

“Turkey doesn’t want to take the blame for allowing this to take
place on its territory,” she added.


saudi consulate istanbul jamal khashoggi
The
Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where journalist Jamal Khashoggi
died, taken from a skyscraper on October 10,
2018.

Murad
Sezer/Reuters


The top Saudi public prosecutor visited Istanbul this week to
discuss his country’s investigation into the killing with his
counterpart in the city.

Saudi Attorney General Saud al-Mujeb met Irfan Fidan, Istanbul’s
chief public prosecutor, twice in two days and went inside the
consulate — the site of the killing — for 90 minutes on Tuesday,
Turkey’s state-owned
Anadolu Agency reported
. Neither side has made a public
statement about the visit.

One potential piece of evidence that Turkish officials have
against Saudi Arabia is an audio recording of Khashoggi’s last
moments. It’s not clear whether the Saudi prosecutors have heard
this.

CIA Director Gina Haspel
reportedly heard the tape during a visit to Turkey last
week
. She briefed President Donald Trump on her visit to
Turkey, but it is not clear whether she addressed the audio,
the
BBC reported
.

Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, criticized Trump on his
reaction to Khashoggi’s killing. Khashoggi was a green card
holder and wrote columns for The Washington Post.

She told an audience in London, according to Reuters: “I am
disappointed by the actions of the leadership in many countries,
particularly in the US.

“President Trump should help reveal the truth and ensure justice
be served. He should not pave the way for a cover-up of my
fiancé’s murder. Let’s not let money taint our conscience and
compromise our values.”

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