The Turkish president Erdogan has given a detailed explanation about the circumstances in which the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed. He emphasized that it is a “political murder” that was clearly planned in advance.
In his speech Erdogan explained how the murder was set up according to the Turkish authorities. Khashoggi went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on September 28 for the first time. He had an appointment to collect papers for his marriage. “A team that ultimately killed Khashoggi was informed about it,” said the Turkish president.
On October 1, the day before Khashoggi was killed, three groups of 15 Saudi’s in total were flown to Istanbul with private jets. Some of them reportedly have explored the Belgrade forest in the capital. It seems to be implied that the body of Khashoggi might have been hidden there.
On October 2, another three Saudis were flown over. The team collected according to Erdogan in the morning in the consulate and took the first measures. “The hard disks and cameras in the consulate were removed and Khashoggi was called to confirm his appointment the same day,” says Erdogan.
That same day, Khashoggi entered the consulate in the afternoon, but he was not seen afterwards. His fiancé informed the Turkish authorities of the incident and said that “Khashoggi was detained at the consulate against his will”.
The Saudi group left Turkey the same evening, hours after the disappearance of Khashoggi.
Yet much remains unclear about the murder. Erdogan wants to know, among other things, who sent the team to his country and who is the local henchman who would have removed the body. “On what orders was the fifteen-headed Saudi team in Turkey? Why was the consulate not immediately made available to the researchers? Why were so many different statements given by the Saudis? Who is the local henchman who dumped Khashoggi’s body? Saudi Arabia has yet to answer all these questions. ”
Erdogan also emphasizes the importance of an independent investigation. “I do not doubt the honesty of King Salman. That being said, it is important that a completely impartial and fair investigation be conducted. This is a political murder.” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, incidentally, remains remarkably absent in the speech.
Although the murder in the Saudi consulate, and thus technically in Saudi territory, the suspects of the murder in Istanbul have to be tried, the president adds.
Some things that were expected to be discussed today are missing in Erdogan’s statement. For example, the president does not say a word about the audio recordings of the torture of Khashoggi. Earlier, the Turkish police stated that they still had such recordings.