Saudi Arabia yesterday dismissed accusations that Jamal Khashoggi was ordered murdered by a hit squad inside its Istanbul, Turkey, consulate as “lies and baseless allegations,” as Riyadh and Ankara spar over the missing journalist’s fate.
A Saudi Arabian delegation was in Turkey for talks on the case, which threatens not only to harm fragile relations between the two countries, but also to do serious damage to the reformist credentials of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the kingdom’s ties to the West.
As the controversy intensified, the Washington Post reported that Turkish officials had recordings made from inside the building that allegedly proved their claims that Khashoggi was tortured and killed at the consulate.
Big media and business names have already canceled appearances at a major conference in Riyadh this month, and both the IMF managing director and the US secretary of the treasury made their attendance conditional on the findings in the case.
In the first ministerial reaction from Saudi Arabia to Turkish accusations that Khashoggi was killed, Saudi Arabian Minister of the Interior Prince Abdel Aziz bin Saud bin Nayef condemned “what has been reported in certain media concerning false accusations against Saudi Arabia ... in the case of the disappearance of citizen Khashoggi.”
“What has been reported on the matter of orders to kill him is a lie and a baseless allegation,” the minister said in comments carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
Saudi Arabian journalist and Washington Post contributor Khashoggi vanished on Oct. 2 after entering the consulate to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.
The Saudi Arabian delegation, whose composition was not immediately clear, is expected to meet with Turkish officials in Ankara over the weekend, state media said on Friday.
It is likely that they would take part in a joint working group on the case, whose creation was announced on Thursday by Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin following a request by Saudi Arabia.
A Saudi Arabian official source quoted by Saudi Press Agency said it was “a positive move” that Turkey had agreed to the creation of what it described as a “joint action team.”
Ankara has so far stopped short of accusing Saudi Arabia, although pro-government media have published sensational claims, including that an “assassination team” was sent to Istanbul to kill Khashoggi.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has challenged Saudi Arabia to provide CCTV images to back up its account that Khashoggi left the consulate safely.
Pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah said officials wanted to search the building with luminol, a chemical that allows forensic teams to discover blood traces, but Saudi Arabia had so far refused.
Officers were looking into sound recordings sent from a smart watch Khashoggi was wearing when he entered the consulate to a mobile phone that he gave to his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside.
Turkish daily Milliyet reported “arguments and shouting” could be heard on the recordings.
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
NEW HONG KONG LAW: A visit to Beijing-friendly nations or those with weak judicial systems could leave people at risk of deportation to China, a former MAC official said Beijing could request countries with which it has extradition agreements to deport Taiwanese to China to face criminal charges following the implementation of national security legislation for Hong Kong, a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official warned yesterday. Some developing countries, and those close to China because of the Belt and Road Initiative, are likely to accommodate Beijing’s requests to extradite Taiwanese to China, said former deputy MAC minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), who served from July 2, 2018, until May 20, and then returned to his former post as an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University. While Taiwanese
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official