Turkey has “evidence in hand about what happened to Khashoggi and who is responsible”. That is what the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, said during his visit to Albania about the mysterious disappearance of the Saudi journalist.
It is the first time that Turkey has come with an official statement about the fate of the Saudi dissident. Previously, President Erdogan only said that evidence had been overpainted in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where Khashoggi disappeared on October 2. The Turkish Minister of Justice stated earlier that the Khashoggi case is being ‘thoroughly’ investigated and that the results will be made public ‘soon’.
Çavuşoğlu contradicted reports in Turkish and American media that he had shared a sound recording of the torture and murder of the journalist with his American counterpart Mike Pompeo, who was in the Turkish capital Ankara on Wednesday. He called it “excluded” that Turkey gave Pompeo or any other American official a sound recording related to the disappearance of Khashoggi, he told reporters. He added that Turkey would come with proof once the Turkish criminal investigation has completed the investigation.
Turkish investigators have been doing research in the Belgradobos on the outskirts of Istanbul and in the city of Yalova since yesterday. They hope to find the physical remains of the Saudi journalist there. These two locations came into the picture because the routes of two consular cars could be mapped via security cameras along the roads from the Saudi consulate.
Saudi Arabia contradicts the Turkish lecture, but has not come up with a version about the disappearance of Khashoggi. The Saudi consul in Istanbul, Mohammed al-Otaibi, has left Turkey on 16 October.
Read also: Tension between Turkey and Saudi Arabia
“Enigmatic traffic accident”
Turkish media reported that an alleged member of the Saudi “death squad” of Khashoggi, a 31-year-old air force officer, was killed in “an enigmatic traffic accident” in Saudi Arabia.
US President Donald Trump yesterday acknowledged that Khashoggi was probably dead. He threatened “very serious” consequences for Riyadh if the involvement of Saudi Arabia were confirmed. The closed kingdom is the largest customer of the American arms industry. In 2017 a total of no less than 100 billion dollar contracts were concluded.
Republicans blame Khashoggi for links with Islamists
Supporters and allies of Trump meanwhile try to undermine the image of Khashoggi and point to links between the missing journalist and Islamists. MEPs from the Republicans shared reports from right-wing media over the past few days about how close Khashoggi was to the Islamist Muslim tool and about his coverage of Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida who was killed in 2011.
Read also: Evidence of murdered journalist
The criticism of the journalist must support Trump’s efforts to maintain a good relationship with the Saudis.
“Khashoggi had ties with the Muslim Brotherhood,” said news anchor Harris Faulkner of Fox News in a broadcast. The Republican Senate candidate for the state of Virginia, Corey Stewart, has said: “Khashoggi was not a good fellow himself”. Trumps son Donald Jr. last week spread a tweet in which a journalist reproached Khashoggi for hanging out with bin Laden in Afghanistan.
Khashoggi’s previous sympathies for Islamists are well known, but his change in a critic of the Saudi government, where he spoke for reforms, democracy and press freedom. Pro-government Saudi media have been spreading the accusation that Khashoggi was learning from the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar, the emirate with which Saudi Arabia is at odds.
Source: AD.nl, TurkishNews