The world has been stunned for several weeks while the details of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are made public. Since the murder took place in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, both Turkey and Saudi Arabia are involved in the investigation. And Turkey seems to be holding on to the tension for a while. Perhaps with reason, because Turkey is still struggling with a financial crisis.
The way in which Turkey plays off the murder and the investigation can best be compared with a convenient distraction manoeuvre. “There is no reason to rush us,” Erdogan said during one of his speeches for his majority party. Patience is the main component of the research that is followed internationally. And that is because there is probably a lot more going on behind the scenes.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia arm wrestling for the most powerful in the Muslim world. That power struggle goes beyond just faith. Political and economic influence are important pawns in the game that the two Arab countries play. If a country can use some economic advantage, it is Turkey.
“Erdogan will presumably try to enforce concessions to Saudi Arabia in the form of loans, cash payments or contracts. In order to alleviate the pressure on the Turkish economy”, says Lisel Hintz, Professor of International Relations at the Johns Hopkins School. “The misery started after Erdogan encouraged reckless lending and jeopardized the independence of the Turkish Central Bank.” As a result, the country is now heavily dependent on foreign financing and investor confidence is crucial for economic health. “That is why Turkey is trying to prove itself as a responsible member.”
Braved reputation of Saudi Arabia
In short, Turkey makes grateful use of the murder of dissident journalist Khashoggi. The reputation damage for Saudi Arabia is considerable, as well as the damage to the image of crown prince Mohammed bin-Salman. And the strong bond between Trump and the Saudi crown prince is put to the test. Nevertheless, the crown prince keeps his role as an influential man in the Middle East.