Thu, Nov 22, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Turkey accuses US of ignoring Saudis’ killing of Khashoggi

Reuters, ISTANBUL, Turkey

US President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Tuesday.

Photo: Bloomberg

Turkey yesterday accused the US of trying to turn a blind eye to the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul and dismissed comments from US President Donald Trump on the issue as “comic.”

Trump on Tuesday vowed to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia, despite saying that Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman might have known about the plan to murder Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post columnist.

Of the possibility that Prince Mohammed had a hand in the murder, Trump said: “Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.”

His comments contradicted the CIA, which believes Khashoggi’s death was ordered directly by the crown prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler.

Numan Kurtulmus, the deputy chairman of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, dismissed Trump’s assessment.

“Yesterday’s statement is a comic statement,” Kurtulmus told state broadcaster TRT Haber.

“It is not possible for an intelligence agency such as the CIA, which even knows the color of the fur on the cat walking around the Saudi consulate’s garden ... to not know who gave this order,” he said. “This is not credible either for US public opinion or the world public opinion.”

Since Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul last month, Turkey has repeatedly said the order came from the “highest levels” of the Saudi Arabian government, although it has not directly accused Prince Mohammed.

Saudi Arabia has denied that the crown prince ordered the hit.

After offering numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh last week said that Khashoggi had been killed and his body dismembered when “negotiations” to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.

Trump on Tuesday said that Saudi Arabia, a major oil producer, was an important business partner and a “great ally” in the fight against Iranian power in the Middle East.

Following a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara is not entirely satisfied with the level of cooperation it is receiving from Saudi Arabia regarding the case.

Ankara might seek a formal UN inquiry if its liaising with Riyadh comes to an impasse, Cavusoglu said.

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