Saudi Arabia says Turkish evidence shows planned killing

Adjust Comment Print

"With the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, it's time for the United States to halt all weapons sales and military aid to Saudi Arabia", said Representative James McGovern, who originally sponsored the bill.

In a speech timed to coincide with the start of a three-day global business conference in Riyadh on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected the Saudi narrative and said that Khashoggi's murder was planned in Riyadh. That earlier assertion, in turn, backtracked from an initial statement that Saudi authorities knew nothing about what happened to the columnist for The Washington Post, who vanished after entering the consulate October 2.

Roughly three weeks ago Khashoggi went missing after visiting a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey and was eventually revealed to have been killed.

At the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, the crown prince said Khashoggi's death was hurtful to the Saudis and the world. The evidence of Turkish investigators "indicates that the suspects in the incident had committed their act with a premeditated intention", the Saudi government statement said.

An adviser to Turkey's president said Prince Mohammed had "blood on his hands" over Khashoggi, the bluntest language yet from someone linked to Erdogan.

Striking a defiant tone, Prince Mohammed told worldwide investors at a major conference in Riyadh that the furor over Khashoggi's killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul would not derail the kingdom's reform drive.

Appearing on a discussion panel at an worldwide investment conference in Riyadh, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said all culprits would be punished, and that Saudi Arabia and Turkey would work together "to reach results".

But Turkey wants more answers from Saudi Arabia, a regional rival that is also a source of investment.

Turkish media have also published a security camera image allegedly showing a vehicle belonging to the Saudi Consulate "scouting" a forest in the outskirts of Istanbul before Khashoggi was killed. "Where is it?" Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said Thursday at a news conference with his Palestinian counterpart.

The Turkish and Saudi governments, he added, are both keen to see those responsible for the crime held to account.

His comments came hours after he was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying that as Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, the crown prince bore ultimate responsibility for the operation that led to Khashoggi's death. The image, obtained by state television TRT and other media on Wednesday, shows a black vehicle with a diplomatic license plate at an entrance to Belgrade Forest.