Turkey finds Saudi prosecutor’s statements on Khashoggi murder unsatisfactory
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday that Ankara was not satisfied with the statements made by the Saudi Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding the investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said on Thursday that it had sought death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged in the murder of Khashoggi.
The prosecutor told reporters in Riyadh that the Saudi journalist was killed by lethal injection inside the country’s Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2 after a struggle. Khashoggi’s body was later dismembered and taken out of the building, he said.
Former Saudi deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed al-Assiri,ordered the return of Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia and formed a team of 15 people to complete the task, the Saudi prosecutor's office said.
The team was divided into three groups -a negotiation team, an intelligence team and a logistical team- and the head of the negotiation team ordered the killing, the prosecutor said.
The prosecutor also said that the Royal Court advisor, Saud Qahtani, had been banned from traveling pending the completion of the investigation into the murder. Qahtani, who led the communications team of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was removed from his role last month.
“I should say that I found some parts of the statement unsatisfactory,” Çavuşoğlu said, following the press briefing in Riyadh.
While the Saudi prosecutor said Khashoggi was killed because he resisted the team that was said to be in the consulate to take the Saudi journalist back to his homeland, Çavuşoğlu repeated Turkish government’s view that the murder was planned in advance.
“The dismemberment of the body was not a spontaneous decision. The people and the equipment needed for his killing and the body’s dismemberment were brought there in advance,” he said.
Çavuşoğlu said that though the Saudi prosecutor announced that they would share with Turkish authorities information regarding a local collaborator who took part in the disposal of the body, there were still questions that needed to be answered.
“Where is Khashoggi’s body,” Turkish foreign minister said.
“It is essential to reveal who gave the instructions, who were the real instigators. And this process should not be closed like that,” said Çavuşoğlu.
The Saudi prosecutors statement came the day after Çavuşoğlu said that an international investigation into the murder of Khashoggi was essential.
Turkish prosecutors handed the Saudi prosecutor Saud Al Mojeb an extradition request for the suspects related to Khashoggi’s murder when he visited Istanbul last month for the investigation.
Turkish authorities say all suspects related to the case should be prosecuted in Turkey, where the murder took place.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said this month in an op-ed he penned for the Washington Post that the Turkish government knew the order to kill Khashoggi had come from the highest levels of the Saudi government, adding that some Saudi officials had been trying to cover up the murder.
“As responsible members of the international community, we must reveal the identities of the puppetmasters behind Khashoggi’s killing and discover those in whom Saudi officials — still trying to cover up the murder — have placed their trust,” Erdoğan said.