Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to reveal everything about what happened to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In a stunningly open address to members of his ruling party this week, he stated that the Jamal Khashoggi murder had been planned days in advance. However, Turkish President Erdogan didn’t back up any of the details he presented as the “naked truth” with concrete evidence, according to multiple media reports.
“He said, she said” in the Jamal Khashoggi murder
Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkish authorities have been saying that he was killed and dismembered inside the consulate, but Saudi officials claimed he left the consulate after finishing his business there. The Saudi royal family initially denied any knowledge about the disappearance of the Washington Post columnist. Saudi officials later changed their story to match a speculation offered by U.S. President Donald Trump, who suggested that perhaps “rogue killers” had murdered Khashoggi. They also suggested that Khashoggi was killed accidentally at the consulate.
At this point, the Jamal Khashoggi case has been essentially a “he said, she said” story Turkey and Saudi Arabia have offered up their versions of what may have happened, and U.S. officials have been attempting to reach a diplomatic settlement between the two Middle East superpowers. Neither country has presented compelling evidence to back up their claims so far.
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Turkish President Erdogan presents what he called the “naked truth”
Shocking new comments from Turkish President Erdogan are the latest shot fired in the crime which has now been upgraded from a disappearance to murder. In an address to the Turkish parliament, he called the Jamal Khashoggi murder “very savage” and maintains that the Saudi journalist and critic was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Erdogan said 18 people have been arrested in the journalist’s death in Saudi Arabia, the BBC reported. He also said three teams of 15 Saudi nationals arrived in Istanbul on separate flights in the days before the murder. He also alleged that the day before Khashoggi was killed, some of them entered the Belgrad forest, which is not far from the Saudi consulate. Turkish police searched the area last week in an attempt to locate the journalist’s body, and Erdogan wants to know why the body has not been found.
The Turkish president did not present any of the video or audio recordings which multiple media outlets have said exist. In fact, he didn’t offer any details on what evidence they do have in the Jamal Khashoggi murder. Erdogan also alleged that the Turkish team responsible for the Saudi journalist’s death removed surveillance videos and security cameras from the consulate before he arrived.
Turkey points the finger at Saudi Prince Mohammed
Turkish President Erdogan stopped short of accusing Saudi King Salman of not being sincere in his remarks about the crime. However, he blasted Saudi officials for pinning the Jamal Khashoggi murder on rogue agents. He demanded that the 18 people who were arrested for the killing in Saudi Arabia be returned to Istanbul to be tried there. He also called for justice and punishment for “all those who played a role in the murder.”
The Guardian reported before Turkish President Erdogan addressed his parliament that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was in the crosshairs. The newspaper added after his address that Erdogan did not mention the prince in his parliamentary address. Erdogan and Prince Mohammed have opposed each other in their views of the region’s future, and The Guardian claimed that in the Jamal Khashoggi murder, Erdogan had the prince “right where he wants him.” The U.K. newspaper also described the situation as an “opportunity for the veteran Turkish leader, who has never warmed to the brash 33-year-old.”
Turkish police have identified several men who have been reportedly linked to Prince Mohammed’s security detail, including one who has allegedly been seen in photographs with the prince. Because the prince holds an ironclad grip on his security detail, experts have suggested that no operation would be carried out without his knowledge.
However, no solid evidence of these allegations has been presented yet, and that did not change with the parliament address from Turkish President Erdogan.
Evidence in the Jamal Khashoggi murder is lacking
CBS emphasized the lack of evidence in the Jamal Khashoggi murder, which Turkish President Erdogan described as a “political murder.” Turkish authorities have claimed they have an audio recording of the murder, but so far, they have not presented this recording. In fact, U.S. officials say there has been no proof that the audio recording even exists.
Erdogan refuted the most recent Saudi claim, which was that Khashoggi was killed in a fist fight accidentally inside the consulate. CBS describes most of his parliamentary address as “little more than rhetoric.” The news outlet also said he offered more questions than answers as he questioned why Saudi officials have changed their story so many times since the journalist disappeared.
Disturbing image posted by hackers
Although it hardly can be seen as real proof of Saudi Prince Mohammed’s ties to the Jamal Khashoggi murder, a disturbing image of him has been posted on the website of a big investment conference set to be held in Riyadh this week.
The Independent reported that hackers took over the website of the Future Investment Initiative conference. They posted an image which depicts Prince Mohammed beheading the journalist. The website also bears this message: “Saudi regime is one of the sources for #Terrorism_Financing in the world.” The hackers seem to be using the Jamal Khashoggi murder as a platform to allege that Saudi Arabia has supported terrorist groups linked to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians.
As far as real evidence goes, the Jamal Khashoggi murder remains a mystery filled with allegations. Turkish officials have agreed to cooperate with an independent probe conducted by international organizations if they should decide to investigate the case. According to CBS, CIA Director Gina Haspel is heading to Turkey to participate in the investigation.
The fact that Turkish President Erdogan has so boldly signed his name to his country’s own investigation of the journalist’s death is widely being seen as a major step in the diplomatic crisis.