Erdogan Suggests Khashoggi’s Killers Are Being Protected & The Saudi Crown Prince Cleared The Murder

Erdoğan claims people behind Khashoggi killing being protected.
Chris McGrath / Getty Images

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has provided insight into the torture and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, making pointed remarks that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have cleared the murder before it took place, reports the Guardian.

After changing their story many times, recent reports reveal that Saudi officials have admitted that the killing that took place inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 was premeditated. They have also claimed that the 15 Saudi officials who were involved in the murder did so of their own accord. However, Erdogan’s comments have called this latter claim into question.

According to the president, “a game is being played to protect someone involved in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.” He also declared that he shared this information with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron this past weekend.

The comments have led many to believe that despite efforts to end the dispute between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, Turkey’s current aim is to get rid of bin Salman or weaken his power in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia’s senior prosecutor Saud al-Mujeb, who is investigating the killing, spoke to reporters at the Istanbul consulate on Tuesday.

“Who sent these 15 people? As Saudi public prosecutor, you have to ask that question, so you can reveal it. Now we have to solve this case. No need to prevaricate, it makes no sense to try to save certain people. We cannot let this subject end midway.”

He also visited Istanbul’s main courthouse where he was reportedly meant to receive a 150-page dossier detailing interviews made with consulate employees and phone recordings of Khashoggi. The intelligence gathered by the Turks and given to Saudi Arabia will be examined to determine how much, if any, contact was made between the Saudi consul general’s office and the crown prince’s office during Khashoggi’s interrogation.

A report by U.K. publication the Sunday Express has claimed that U.K. foreign intelligence knew about the planned abduction three weeks before it happened. An intelligence source spoke to the Express about the mission, adding that MI6 warned Saudi Arabia to cancel the abduction after discovering their plans.

“We were initially made aware that something was going in the first week of September, around three weeks before Mr. Khashoggi walked into the consulate on October 2, though it took more time for other details to emerge. These details included primary orders to capture Mr. Khashoggi and bring him back to Saudi Arabia for questioning. However, the door seemed to be left open for alternative remedies to what was seen as a big problem.”

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has since responded to these allegations.

“I do not comment on intelligence matters, but I had absolutely no prior knowledge myself of the terrible Khashoggi murder and was as shocked as everyone else was.”