Turkey is to continue to press for answers on who killed Jamal Khashoggi, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote on Monday, ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Saudi journalist’s murder.
In an opinion piece in the Washington Post, for which U.S. resident Khashoggi was a columnist, Erdogan called his murder “arguably the most influential and controversial incident of the 21st century, barring the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.”
Khashoggi was killed on Oct. 2, 2018, inside Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul.
He was there to collect documents he needed in order to marry his Turkish fiancee.
Erdogan wrote that the 15-member hit squad that “chopped his body into pieces served the interests of a shadow state within the kingdom’s government — not the Saudi state or people.”
Turkish and Western intelligence agencies say the order to kill Khashoggi could only have come “from the highest levels of the Saudi government.”
The kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, told U.S. broadcaster CBS that he did not order the murder.
“This was a heinous crime,” he said on Sunday. “But I take full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia, especially since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government.’’
Erdogan reiterated: “Where are Khashoggi’s remains? Who signed the Saudi journalist’s death warrant? Who dispatched the 15 killers, including a forensic expert, aboard the two planes to Istanbul?”
He criticised the “near-complete lack of transparency” surrounding the Saudi trial, the “impunity that some of the killers seem to enjoy back in the kingdom” and the “attempted coverup [sic] by Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Istanbul.”