TUE 26 - 3 - 2019
Nov 3, 2018
The Daily Star
Erdogan says Khashoggi killing ordered at Saudi 'highest levels'
Sanctions on Khashoggi killers weeks away: Pompeo
ANKARA: The order to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi came from the "highest levels" of the Saudi government, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in an op-ed piece published by the Washington Post on Friday.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist critical of the Saudi government and its de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul exactly one month ago on Oct. 2.
Erdogan said he did not believe "for a second" that King Salman had ordered "the hit" on Khashoggi and he also refrained from directly accusing the crown prince.
An adviser to Erdogan said last week that MbS, as the crown prince is informally known, had "blood on his hands" over Khashoggi’s killing, the bluntest comments yet from someone linked to Erdogan about Riyadh's de facto ruler in connection with the death.
The Saudi government initially insisted Khashoggi had left the consulate, later saying he died in an unplanned "rogue operation". Last week, the kingdom's public prosecutor Saud Al Mojeb said the attack was premeditated.
"No one should dare to commit such acts on the soil of a NATO ally again. If anyone chooses to ignore that warning, they will face severe consequences," Erdogan warned.
Earlier on Friday, another Erdogan adviser said the team that killed Khashoggi in Istanbul cut up his body in order to dissolve it for easier disposal, the newspaper Hurriyet reported.
Yasin Aktay, who advises Erdogan and was a friend of Khashoggi's, told Hurriyet that the body was disposed of by dismembering and dissolving.
"According to the latest information we have, the reason they dismembered his body is to dissolve it easier."
Sanctions on Khashoggi killers weeks away: Pompeo
WASHINGTON/ANKARA/LONDON/SOFIA: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said it may take “a handful more weeks” before Washington has enough evidence to impose sanctions on individuals responsible for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “We’re continuing to understand the fact pattern,” Pompeo said Thursday during an interview with Missouri-based KMOX news radio.
“We are reviewing putting sanctions on the individuals that we have been able to identify to date that have that were engaged in that murder.
“It’ll take us probably a handful more weeks before we have enough evidence to actually put those sanctions in place, but I think we’ll be able to get there,” he said, adding that U.S. President Donald Trump had vowed accountability for all involved in the “heinous crime.”
The top U.S. diplomat has previously said the killing “violates the norms of international law.”
But Pompeo emphasized, as Trump has, that “not only do we have important commercial relationships, but important strategic relationships, national security relationships with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and we intend to make sure that those relationships remain intact.”
Speaking at a journalism awards ceremony Thursday, Fred Ryan, publisher and CEO of The Washington Post, urged the Trump administration to take a tougher line.
“When officials of our government are asked about consequences for Jamal’s murder, they often talk about ‘balancing our interests in the area,’” he said.
A Turkish official said earlier Friday that Khashoggi was “dissolved” after he was murdered and dismembered in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul a month ago.
The claim echoed details a Turkish official had earlier given to The Washington Post, for which Khashoggi was a contributor, that authorities were investigating a theory the body was destroyed in acid.
“We now see that it wasn’t just cut up, they got rid of the body by dissolving it,” Yasin Aktay, an official in Turkey’s ruling party, told the Hurriyet newspaper in a story published Friday.
“According to the latest information we have, the reason they cut up the body is it was easier to dissolve it,” said Aktay, an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who was close to Khashoggi.
“They aimed to ensure no sign of the body was left.”
Turkey’s chief prosecutor Wednesday confirmed for the first time that Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate on Oct. 2 as part of a planned hit, and his body was then dismembered and destroyed.
The Turkish official quoted by The Washington Post said that “biological evidence” found in the consulate’s garden indicated the body was likely disposed of near where Khashoggi was killed.
Saudi authorities have denied Turkish police permission to search a well in the consulate’s garden, but did allow them to take water samples for analysis, according to local media reports.
Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz, who waited outside the consulate as the journalist entered to obtain documents for their upcoming marriage, said what was done to his body was “brutal, barbaric and ruthless.”
“It is now up to the international community to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“Of all nations, the United States should be leading the way,” Cengiz said in opinion article published in The Washington Post, The Guardian and other media outlets.
“The Trump administration has taken a position that is devoid of moral foundation,” she wrote, adding, “there will be no cover-up.”
Germany and Switzerland have vowed to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia until the case is clarified.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose country shares Riyadh’s hostility to Iran, stressed the need for stability in Saudi Arabia as he condemned the murder.
“It is very important for the stability of the world, for the region and for the world, that Saudi Arabia remain stable,” Netanyahu told reporters during a visit to Bulgaria.
In London, Amnesty International campaigners renamed the road outside the Saudi Embassy as “Khashoggi Street” to mark the anniversary. Activists from the London-based NGO temporarily erected a mock street sign in front of the diplomatic compound, in the British capital’s wealthy Mayfair district, in a symbolic gesture.
“This is just a quick action to show solidarity with Jamal’s friends and family,” Kristyan Benedict, a campaign manager with Amnesty International U.K., told AFP outside the embassy.
He said Khashoggi’s close friends and family had urged activists to protest “in key states that are close to the Saudi regime and giving them diplomatic cover.
“We hope to get momentum towards a U.N.-led investigation into the killing,” he added. “The Saudi regime cannot be trusted to investigate this themselves.”
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