Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called for the trial in Istanbul of the Saudi suspects in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a crime that he said was intricately planned days in advance.
Erdogan had promised that his speech in Ankara would give the “naked truth” about the killing and he gave a host of new details while still saying Turkey wanted answers to key questions, including who gave the orders.
Hours before Erdogan delivered his speech to ruling party lawmakers, a major Saudi investment forum opened in Riyadh under the heavy shadow of the murder after key delegates pulled out.
The murder of the Washington Post contributor has damaged the international reputation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who has spearheaded a reform drive in the kingdom.
Erdogan said that the murder was “planned” days in advance according to a “roadmap” set up by a Saudi team who were sent to Istanbul for the purpose, adding that the surveillance system at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was deactivated on purpose.
Erdogan said he still wanted answers on numerous issues including “who gave orders” to the team and where the corpse is.
Erdogan did not mention Prince Mohammed by name in the speech but said he was confident of the full cooperation of his father Saudi King Salman in the probe.
Saudi Arabia only confirmed the killing more than two weeks after the event. The killing has alarmed even Saudi Arabia’s staunchest Western allies.
US President Donald Trump said he was “not satisfied” with Riyadh’s explanations.
A former royal family insider turned critic of the Saudi crown prince, Khashoggi, 59, disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to collect a document for his upcoming marriage.
The case has shone the spotlight on the crown prince, who was credited with reforms including giving women the right to drive but is now accused of having ordered Khashoggi’s murder — a claim Riyadh denies.
The timing of the controversy could not be worse for Prince Mohammed as the investment summit, dubbed “Davos in the desert”, began in Riyadh,big-named owned by big name cancellations and Erdogan’s threat of revelations.