Tuesday, January 22, 2019 | ePaper
Turkey turns up heat on Saudi crown prince over Khashoggi
Khashoggi went to the consulate on October 2 to get documents ahead of his upcoming wedding to his Turkish fiancÃ©e
Turkey's pro-government media published new claims on Monday linking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to reveal the "naked truth" about the case.
Erdogan said at the weekend he would give new details in a speech on Tuesday about the disappearance of Khashoggi, who was murdered almost three weeks ago after stepping inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
After over two weeks of near silence, Saudi Arabia has now admitted Khashoggi was killed in the consulate but the kingdom's explanations are seen even by its allies as contradictory and unsatisfying. The case has shone the spotlight on Crown Prince Mohammed, who has spearheaded a glitzy new reform drive for the kingdom but now faces a stream of allegations-denied by Riyadh-that he ordered the killing of the Washington Post contributor.
US President Donald Trump, who has resisted pressure to curb arms sales to Saudi Arabia, initially said Riyadh's version of events was credible but then accused the kingdom of lying.
Turkish pro-government daily Yeni Safak said Saudi security official Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, the alleged the leader of the operation, called the head of Prince Mohammed's office, Bader al-Asaker, "four times after the murder". "The circle is tightening around the crown prince," said one of its headlines.
Abdulkadir Selvi, whose columns in the Hurriyet daily are closely watched for indications of Erdogan's thinking, gave what he said were new details and said Prince Mohammed had to take responsibility.
Selvi said Khashoggi was strangled by a Saudi assassination squad, in a process that took up to eight minutes. Then Salah Muhammed Al-Tubaigy, a lieutenant-colonel in the Saudi forensic department, cut the body into 15 pieces while listening to music.
"We cannot close this file until the crown prince is brought to account and removed from his post. For 50 years we cannot live with a crown prince who is an enemy of Turkey," said Selvi.
In the past weeks, Turkish media and officials speaking to international media have claimed that audio recordings prove Khashoggi was tortured before being decapitated although no concrete evidence of their existence have emerged. Several senior members of Trump's Republican Party said they believed Prince Mohammed-who has close relations with the president's son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner-was linked to the killing.