Khashoggi killing: Erdogan hardens tone on Saudi Arabia

Oct 26 2018

Al Jazeera

As probe into journalist’s killing progresses, Erdogan ramps up pressure on Riyadh and says Turkey has more evidence

Turkey has ramped up pressure on Saudi Arabia over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, demanding Riyadh reveal who gave the order to kill the journalist in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

“If you are determined to lift this shroud of mystery, then this is the key point of our collaboration,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech on Friday in the capital Ankara.

Addressing provincial members of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the president said Turkish authorities have gathered more evidence, which will be made public “when the time comes”.

He added that he suspected Khashoggi’s killer is among the 18 men arrested by Saudi Arabia in connection to the case and called on the kingdom’s authorities to identify the “local collaborator” whom they say disposed of the journalist’s body.

“These 18 people know who killed Khashoggi. There is no other explanation for this. Because the perpetrator is among them. If the perpetrator is not among them, then who is the local collaborator?” Erdogan asked.

“You have to announce it,” he added.

Erdogan branded the kingdom’s various explanations for Khashoggi’s disappearance and death as “childish statements do not go hand in hand with statesmanship or seriousness of a state”.

He also said the Saudi public prosecutor will arrive in Istanbul on Sunday and meet Turkish investigators.

‘Harsher tone’

Khashoggi, 59, a Washington Post columnist and critic of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

On October 20, after more than two weeks of denials, the kingdom finally confirmed Khashoggi’s death on October 2, claiming he had died in a fistfight.

In his first major speech on the case earlier this week, Erdogan called Khashoggi “the victim of a vicious murder” and called for an independent international probe into the incident. He also referred to Saudi King Salman respectfully but did not refer directly to MBS by name.

According to Mehmet Celik, a journalist from the pro-government English language newspaper Daily Sabah, Erdogan appeared to harden his tone with his latest remarks.

“I think the [tone] and the language he used was significant in today’s speech; he was definitely harsher,” Celik told Al Jazeera.

“He said the explanations made so far by Saudi Arabia were ‘childish’ and he demanded more concrete and consistent answers,” added Celik.

Sinan Ciddi, executive director at the Institute of Turkish Studies at Georgetown University, told Al Jazeera Erdogan is attempting to not only raise Turkey’s profile vis-a-vis Saudi Arabia but also to recast Ankara’s deteriorating relations with its international allies.

“He’s showing partners that there might be problems in Turkey, but that at least Turkey is not Saudi Arabia.”

Ciddi said Erdogan has adopted a more careful approach compared with how he has handled other foreign policy issues in the past.

“Ahead of the Turkish presidential elections, Erdogan took a very aggressive stance versus Europe – and that backfired for him,” Ciddi said, referring to Turkey’s strained relations with major European countries.

“This time he has been more cautious.

“For example, he has said that the Turks have more evidence but hasn’t put the actual evidence out there yet. That would really annoy the Saudis, so he hasn’t done that.”

As a result of Erdogan’s handling, Ciddi noted, Turkey appears to have emerged stronger from the crisis and is being taken more seriously at the international level.

“This is really a gift that landed in his lap.”

Erdogan’s speech came a day after several vigils were held around the world to commemorate the slain journalist.

Members of the Jamal Khashoggi Friends Association gathered outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and said they would do anything to uncover the truth behind the killing.

“On this occasion, and from this place where the spirit of Jamal has been lost, we clearly state that we will not accept compromises in the case of his murder, and that we will not keep silent on any attempt to evade any criminal from accountability and punishment,” the group said.


With reporting by Yarno Ritzen in Istanbul 

Annex, by Al Jazeera :

Jamal Khashoggi case: All the latest updates

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Saudi prosecutor will arrive in Turkey to investigate the murder.

Khashoggi – a Saudi writer, US resident, and Washington Post columnist – entered the building on October 2 to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife so he could remarry.

After weeks of repeated denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance, the kingdom eventually acknowledged that the murder was premeditated. The whereabouts of his body are still unknown.

Here are the latest developments:

Friday, October 26

Turkey seeks extradition of 18 Saudi suspects

Turkish prosecutors plan to seek the extradition of 18 suspects over the killing of Khashoggi.

Anadolu Agency said on Friday the Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office submitted its request to Turkey’s justice ministry, adding that the foreign ministry would formally request the extraditions.

“The reasoning behind the extradition request is that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Turkey by Saudi nationals who traveled to Turkey for this specific purpose,” a senior Turkish official said.

“It is clear that the judicial system in Turkey is better equipped to genuinely serve the cause of justice in this case,” the official added.

“The court proceedings in Turkey will be open to international observers in order to ensure the greatest level of transparency.”

Erdogan: Turkey has more evidence of killing

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara has more documents and information, which it will reveal “when the time is right”.

During a speech to provincial members of his AK Party in the Turkish capital, Erdogan called on Saudi Arabia to reveal who gave the order for the dissident journalist to be killed.

He also announced that the chief Saudi prosecutor will be arriving in Istanbul on Sunday to meet with his Turkish counterpart as part of the investigation into Khashoggi’s murder.

Erdogan added that Khashoggi’s killer is likely to be among the 18 men arrested by Riyadh.

“There is no other explanation, the perpetrator is among these 18 people and if it isn’t then you have to explain who is the local collaborator,” he said.

During the speech, Erdogan also called on the Saudis to hand over the men arrested in connection with the murder to Turkish authorities.

“If you are determined to lift this shroud of mystery, then this is the key point of our collaboration,” he said.

Mehmet Celik, a journalist from Daily Sabah, a pro-government English language newspaper in Turkey, said Erdogan had taken a more forceful position in the speech than previously.

“I think this is one of the harsher remarks Erdogan made on the case and he named both King Salman and Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

“I think the [tone] and the language he used was significant in today’s speech, he was definitely harsher, he said the explanations made so far by Saudi Arabia were “childish” and he demanded more concrete and consistent answers from Saudi Arabia,” said Celik.

Search for Khashoggi’s body

Al Jazeera’s Alan FIsher said the speech showed that Turkey remained fully committed to getting to the bottom of Khashoggi’s killing.

He said that searches by Turkish authorities of a well in the consular grounds and a forest on the outskirts of Istanbul may suggest that Khashoggi’s remains have been disposed of in more than one location.

“The horrific reality is that we might be looking at not just one site, but perhaps two, three – even more – where perhaps this body has been scattered … The Turks seem to be on the mind that the body wasn’t taken out of the country and they therefore want the Saudis to point to this so-called Turkish cooperator,” he said.

Kremlin: No reason to doubt Saudi statements

Russia said it believes Saudi royals were not involved in Khashoggi’s murder after Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the case with Saudi King Salman.

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, called a journalist’s question on whether Moscow fully believes that the royals had no part in the murder “inappropriate”.

“There’s an official statement from the king, there’s an official statement from the crown prince and no one should have any grounds not to believe them,” Peskov said during a conference call on Friday.

Putin spoke to King Salman by telephone on Thursday to discuss “the situation around the case of Khashoggi”, according to a Kremlin statement.

In the wake of the Khashoggi controversy, a number of international leaders as well as prominent CEOs pulled out of an investment summit in Riyadh.

Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen, reporting from Moscow, said that a Russian delegation did attend the Future Investment Initiative.

“It has been said, that Russia might be taking advantage of the deteriorating relationship between Saudi Arabia and a lot of Western countries,” she said.

Turkish foreign minister speaks with Saudi counterpart 

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has had a telephone call with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir, a Turkish foreign ministry source said on Friday.

No information has so far been revealed about the content of the call.

Germany welcomes plan for joint EU position on Saudi arms deals

Germany’s Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said he welcomed Austria’s proposal for a joint European position on arm exports to Saudi Arabia.

Altmaier made the comments in an interview with German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk (DLF) on Friday.

The German government has agreed not to deliver weapons to the kingdom at the moment, he said in an interview during a visit to Turkey, adding that the effect of that decision would be stronger if European countries adopted a common position.

US praises Saudi move to lift travel ban on Khashoggi’s son

The son of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Salah, arrived in the United States after Saudi Arabia lifted a travel ban.

A State Department spokesperson said the US welcomed the decision by Riyadh to allow the dual Saudi-American citizen to go.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed Salah’s status during his recent visit to the kingdom, spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters.

Palladino said Pompeo “made it clear to Saudi leaders that he wanted Salah Khashoggi to return to the United States, and we are pleased that he is now able to do so”.

The destination of Salah and his family was not known, but his late father lived in the Washington area.

The Saudi leadership drew sharp condemnation this week for staging a photo-op showing a clearly uncomfortable Salah shaking hands with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been accused of orchestrating Khashoggi’s murder.

UN: Khashoggi was victim of ‘extrajudicial execution’

The United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions said Khashoggi’s killing bears the hallmark of an extrajudicial execution.

“What we know is sufficient to suggest very strongly that Mr Khashoggi was the victim of an extrajudicial execution and that the Saudi Arabia government is implicated in one way or another,” Agnes Callamard told Al Jazeera.

Callamard called for an international investigation into Khashoggi’s murder earlier in the day at a UN session in New York City.

Faisal Fahad, the Saudi representative on the UN committee, said Callamard had overstepped her remit with her comments. “Kindly do not give us any personal opinions in this official meeting,” he said.

Al Jazeera’s Diplomatic Editor James Bays, reporting from the United Nations, said it’s unclear if an international probe will come to fruition.

“The UN secretary general [Antonio Guterres] says he will only form a panel to investigate if he gets a referral from one of the main bodies of the UN – the Security Council, the General Assembly, or the Human Rights Council, or from one of the countries concerned,” he said.

CIA chief Gina Haspel returned from Turkey and briefed US President Donald Trump on her findings in the Khashoggi killing, the US State Department said.CIA director briefs Trump on Turkey evidence

“The president received a briefing from Director Haspel this morning following her return from Turkey. She briefed the president on their [Turks’] findings and her discussions,” spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

The Washington Post, which Khashoggi contributed to as a columnist, has reported that Haspel listened to “compelling” audio recordings from Turkey’s government that captured the killing of the Saudi writer.

Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Washington, DC, said the Trump-Haspel meeting was crucial as the US president said he wanted all the evidence available before making a decision on how to respond to Saudi Arabia.

He noted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also attended the meeting, but there were no other details of exactly what was discussed.

“The silence is a bit strange given that President Trump had been so adamant in recent days that this was a critical meeting in terms of the US getting information to determine how it’s going act in the days ahead,” said Hanna.

Khashoggi Friends Association holds global protest demanding justice

Supporters of Jamal Khashoggi gathered in cities around the world calling for those responsible for his murder to be held accountable.

In Istanbul, a man wearing a mask of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with fake blood on his hands, stood outside the consulate where he was killed more than three weeks ago.

The demonstrations were organised by a group calling itself the Khashoggi Friends Association, which is demanding justice for his murder.

The event was not just a call for accountability for Khashoggi’s death, it was also an appeal to leaders in the Middle East to respect freedom of speech, highlighting “journalism is not a crime“.Protests were also held in London, Paris, and Washington, DC.

Thursday, October 25

Saudi king briefs Putin on investigation into Khashoggi death – SPA

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by telephone to brief him on the investigation into Khashoggi’s murder.

According to the official Saudi press agency, the king assured Putin the Saudi government was determined to hold the guilty parties accountable and to make sure “they receive their punishment”.

Merkel condemns Khashoggi killing in call with Saudi king

German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a phone call with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, and vowed to take appropriate measures in response, the chancellery said.

Merkel “made clear that the exact course of events must be cleared up”, the chancellery said after Thursday’s telephone call between the two leaders.

“The chancellor urged Saudi Arabia to ensure a rapid, transparent and credible investigation. She stressed that all those responsible must be held accountable,” the statement said.

Scarlett Johansson reportedly turned down film funding from MBS: The Guardian

The Guardian newspaper reported that actor Scarlett Johansson reportedly vetoed funding from the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, for her next film about Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario.

Addario, who won the Pulitzer for her work in Pakistan, told the New York Times that when Johansson found out the initial set of funders included Bin Salman, she rejected his involvement.

“Scarlett Johansson said absolutely not,” Addario told the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof.

“She said: ‘This guy is perpetuating the war in Yemen. He has women in prison’.”

Reports: Khashoggi’s son has left Saudi Arabia

Sarah Leah Whitson, the executive director for the Middle East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch tweeted: “Good news for a change: confirming that #JamalKhashoggi son Salah and his family are finally out of Riyadh and on their way to US, travel ban lifted. Too bad Salah had to endure that cruel and bizarre greeting with MBS first.”The Reuters news agency is reporting that Salah, one of the sons of the slain Khashoggi, has left Saudi Arabia after reportedly being under a travel ban since his father began writing critically about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in columns for The Washington Post.

Saudi dissident and satirist Ghanem Almasarir, whose social media mockery of MBS gets millions of hits, has said he is undeterred by Khashoggi’s murder.

Speaking at a protest on Wednesday outside the Saudi embassy in London, Almasarir said Khashoggi’s slaying had shown the wider world a darker side to the power wielded by MBS.

“If they are not held accountable, they will continue to do it,” the 38-year-old said, adding that many Saudi dissidents living in the UK were “afraid right now to leave their houses”.

Saudi public prosecutor says Khashoggi murder premeditated

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said the assassination of Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul was “premeditated”, Reuters and AFP news agencies reported, citing Saudi state media.

“Information from the Turkish authorities indicates that the act of the suspects in the Khashoggi case was premeditated,” the public prosecutor said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

“The public prosecution continues its investigation with suspects … to complete the court of justice.”

Prosecutors are interrogating suspects on the basis of information provided by a joint Saudi-Turkish task force, the report said.

MBS attends intelligence meeting: Saudi Press Agency

Saudi Arabia’s state-run Saudi Press Agency said on Thursday that bin Salman has attended the first meeting of a committee tasked with restructuring the kingdom’s intelligence services after Khashoggi’s killing.

Turkish FM: Ankara won’t take Khashoggi’s case to international court

Turkey’s foreign minister said that Turkey had no intention of taking the Khashoggi case to an international court, but would share information if the court launched its own investigation.

Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that Ankara is taking all necessary steps to clear up the mystery surrounding what happened to Khashoggi and is cooperating with everyone who wants to cooperate, including Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a news conference with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, he also reiterated that everyone involved in the killing should be investigated and tried in Turkey.

Ex-CIA chief: MBS would have known about Khashoggi killing beforehand

Former CIA Director John Brennan has said he has “no doubt” that MBS would have had prior knowledge of any plans to kill Khashoggi.

Speaking at a live event on Wednesday, Brennan joined the international chorus of condemnation of the murder.

“Whether or not [bin Salman] authorised the dismemberment, the horrific and brutal killing and torture of [Khashoggi] and the reported dismembering of his body, I don’t know. But I have no doubt in my mind that MBS was fully aware of what was ultimately going to happen to Jamal Khashoggi and had approved it,” he said.

CIA chief heard murder audiotape on Turkey trip: report

CIA Director Gina Haspel is flying back to Washington, DC, from Turkey after reportedly listening to an audio recording that captured Khashoggi’s killing, the Washington Post reported.

Quoting people familiar with her meetings with Turkish officials, the newspaper said Haspel heard the “compelling” recordings while on a visit to Turkey this week. Turkish media reports also suggested the CIA boss heard recordings documenting Khashoggi’s death.

If confirmed, the recording gives a key American official access to the evidence used by Turkey to accuse Saudi Arabia of premeditated murder and puts pressure on the US to hold the Saudi leadership to account for the killing of the Post’s contributing columnist.

“This puts the ball firmly in Washington’s court,” the newspaper quoted Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official and scholar at the Brookings Institution, as saying.

“Not only will there be more pressure now from the media but Congress will say, ‘Gina, we would love to have you come visit and you can tell us exactly what you heard.'”

The Saudi crown prince, colloquially known as MBS, the country’s de facto leader, has denied having knowledge of the alleged assassination mission and on Wednesday promised to bring those responsible to justice.

He called the killing of Khashoggi a “heinous crime”.

It remains unclear if the powerful crown prince will allow a legitimate probe, since he’s been accused of a direct role in Khashoggi’s murder.

“He is one of the suspects. Members of his royal guard were part of the killing squad. The US nor the rest of the world should really accept this,” the official told the newspaper on condition of anonymity.“How should a real investigation in Saudi Arabia work when one of the main suspects is the crown prince MBS?” a Turkish senior official was quoted by the Post as saying.

US lawmakers propose bill to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia

A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives that would stop most US arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to Khashoggi’s killing.

The US government and American defence industry are scrambling to save the few actual deals in a much-touted $110bn weapons deal for Saudi Arabia as concerns rise about the role of the kingdom’s leadership in the murder.

The bill includes a prohibition on security assistance, intelligence, training and equipment, but does not extend to activities related to safeguarding US diplomatic posts or personnel.

The bill said US President Donald Trump could request exceptions to the arms sale ban if he also submitted a report on a US investigation into anyone involved in “the murder of journalist and United States permanent resident Jamal Khashoggi”.

“What it essentially says is that arms deals with Saudi Arabia should be reviewed, in particular relating to training, intelligence, equipment. This is unless President Trump provides a report establishing Saudi Arabia’s innocence in this matter,” reported Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna from Washington, DC.

He noted, however, that Congress is in recess “so there can’t be any discussion over this legislation until after the mid-term elections when the House of Representatives reconvenes” in mid-November.

Saudi government funds won’t pay for new FIFA events

Facing scrutiny over links to Saudi Arabia, FIFA says new competitions that are projected to bring in $25bn will not be funded directly by any nation.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s meetings with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the past year raised questions about the kingdom’s involvement in the overhaul of international football competitions for national teams and clubs.

Seven months after Infantino offered a limited outline of the financial proposition, FIFA council members have been informed of principles that will govern “any potential future agreement” with investors in the Club World Cup and worldwide Nations League, according to documents seen by AP news agency.

“FIFA would not enter into a joint venture for this purpose, whether directly or indirectly, with sovereign wealth funds of individual states,” the documents state, not addressing investment from private entities linked to states.

FIFA is distancing itself from Infantino’s comment at a media briefing in June where he was asked whether the Saudis were backers of the project.

“Whoever invests in sport generally, I think, is welcome provided we do the things in an appropriate way,” Infantino said at the time.

Proposals have stalled because of opposition within the council to Infantino’s secrecy over the financial backers.

“Football is not for sale,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who is also a FIFA vice president, said in May. UEFA is opposed to the new Club World Cup proposal.

“I cannot accept that some people, some of our colleagues, who are blinded by the pursuit of profit are considering to sell the soul of football tournaments to nebulous private funds,” Ceferin added.

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp, which is part of the group seeking a joint venture with FIFA to sell the rights to the new competitions, has received $45bn from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund for technology investments.

Investments with Saudi Arabia have become increasingly problematic for organisations since Saudi officials were accused of killing Khashoggi.

Saudi crown prince jokes Lebanon PM ‘not kidnapped’

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince joked about allegations that Lebanon’s Premier-Designate Saad Hariri was detained in the kingdom last year, saying he hoped Hariri’s current visit did not spark “abduction” rumours.

Hariri “will be staying in the kingdom for two more days, so I hope there are no rumours of his abduction”, MBS said while addressing the Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh.

He joked Hariri was free to leave after attending the three-day conference that ends Thursday.

The prince burst out laughing and shook hands with a smiling Hariri, who sat next to him on stage, as the audience also erupted in laughter.

In November last year, Hariri announced he was stepping down from his post as prime minister in a televised address from the Saudi capital, causing observers to speculate he was being held against his will.

After French mediation, he rescinded his resignation the following month; Saudi Arabia has denied intimidating Hariri into quitting his post.

Hariri, a dual citizen of both Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, has thrown his support behind bin Salman. Saudi Arabia has long been a key ally of Hariri, while Riyadh’s regional foe Iran backs Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday said the Khashoggi case was “painful”, and that “justice will prevail”.Wednesday, October 24

Calling Khashoggi’s murder a “heinous crime that cannot be justified”, the powerful crown prince said all culprits will be punished, and Saudi Arabia and Turkey will work together “to reach results”.

He said the killing of the dissident journalist will not “drive a wedge” between the kingdom and Turkey. “We will cooperate with Turkey to discover the truth behind Khashoggi’s killing,” the Saudi crown prince said.

Bin Salman broke his silence on the October 2 killing while addressing the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, the summit now overshadowed by the Khashoggi case.

May says Saudi account of Khashoggi death lacks credibility

British Prime Minister Theresa May told Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Wednesday that his country’s explanation for the death of Khashoggi in Turkey lacked credibility, her office said.

“The prime minister said the current explanation lacks credibility so there remains an urgent need to establish exactly what happened,” a Downing Street spokesperson said in a readout of a call between May and King Salman.

“She strongly urged Saudi Arabia to cooperate with the Turkish investigation and to be transparent about the results. It is important that the full facts are established.”

Macron warns of possible sanctions against Khashoggi murderers

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday said he had told King Salman of Saudi Arabia that France, in coordination with partners, could take action against those held responsible for the murder of Khashoggi.

Macron expressed profound outrage during a phone conversation with Salman, the French presidency said in a statement, adding the president had asked the king that the circumstances around Khashoggi’s death be fully disclosed.

MBS identifies Russia, China, Japan and France as ‘best friends’

MBS has opened a meeting with Russian, Chinese, Japanese and French businessmen who attended an economic forum in Riyadh despite the Khashoggi murder scandal, with the words: “Now we know who our best friends are, and who our best enemies are.”

The remarks were quoted to Russia’s Ria Novosti news agency by Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the State Hermitage Museum, who witnessed the meeting.

Erdogan, MBS discuss ‘joint steps’ to shed light on Khashoggi case

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday spoke on the phone with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince for the first time since the murder of Khashoggi, a presidential source said.

The two discussed “the issue of joint efforts and the steps that need to be taken in order to shed light on the Jamal Khashoggi murder in all its aspects”, the source added.

Pompeo: US wants ‘perfect clarity’ on Khashoggi killing

The United States wants perfect clarity on exactly what happened in the death of Khashoggi, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an internal email sent widely to US Department of State employees.

“We are already seeing steps from Saudi Arabia reflecting serious accountability, but we won’t be satisfied until we get perfect clarity on exactly what transpired,” Pompeo said in a “Miles with Mike” email sent to US State Department employees on Tuesday evening and reviewed by Reuters news agency on Wednesday.

The email described his trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Spain to deliver arms to Riyadh despite Khashoggi’s killing

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said his government will fulfil past arms sales contracts with Saudi Arabia, despite his condemnation of the Khashoggi murder.

Sanchez has told fellow lawmakers on Wednesday that protecting jobs in southern Spain was also central to his decision last month to go ahead with a controversial bomb shipment to Saudi Arabia.

Spain has said that the $2.1bn purchase by Saudi Arabia for five navy ships was put at risk when the government pondered cancelling the shipment of 400 precision bombs purchased by Riyadh in 2015.

Sanchez has not clarified what his plans are regarding future purchases by the long-time commercial ally.

Turkey receives permission to search a well at Saudi consulate

Turkish police have been granted permission to search a well in the garden of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Reuters news agency reported, citing Turkish broadcaster NTV.

Saudi officials had earlier refused to allow a search.

Authorities have previously carried out inspections at the consulate and consul general’s residence as part of their investigation into the assassination of Khashoggi.

After repeated denials, Saudi Arabia admitted on the weekend that the journalist had been killed at its Istanbul consulate following a “fist-fight”. The kingdom’s officials did not, however, make any mention of where the 59-year-old’s body was.

Britain to stop suspects in Khashoggi death from entering UK

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK will revoke the visas of all Saudi Arabian nationals suspected of involvement in the Khashoggi killing in a bid to prevent them from entering the country.

The UK leader also said she expects to speak to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman later on Wednesday.

“The Home Secretary is taking action against all suspects to prevent them entering the UK, and if these individuals currently have visas, those visas will be revoked today,” May told the British parliament.

“There does remain an urgent need to establish exactly what has happened in relation to this,” she added.

May’s announcement came after the US Department of State said 21 Saudis will have their US visas revoked or be made ineligible for US visas over the kingdom’s killing of the journalist.

Erdogan: Some are ‘uncomfortable’ with evidence

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said some are “uncomfortable” with Ankara sharing evidence concerning the ongoing investigation into Khashoggi’s killing, without elaborating on who.

Speaking at a symposium in the Turkish capital, Ankara, Erdogan also said Turkey will not allow those responsible for the Saudi journalist’s assassination inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul to avoid justice.

“Since yesterday, we are seeing that Erdogan is trying to take this Jamal Khashoggi file to an international level, [to ensure] that Turkey is not left out alone while dealing with this, [and that] some international partners including the UN or the International Criminal Court are involved in this, and the suspects are tried and judged independent of Saudi Arabia law,” Koseoglu said.Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Ankara, said the Turkish leader was reiterating points he raised during a speech to members of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said Turkish prosecutors could send a request for the extradition of the Saudi’s Consul General to Turkey, who left the country shortly after Khashoggi was killed at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, she added.

France waiting for further facts on Khashoggi killing

France will not take any “hasty decision” on the future of its strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia until the facts around the death of Khashoggi are clear, a source in President Emmanuel Macron’s Elysee Palace office told Reuters news agency.

“If decisions are to be taken in the future, they will be taken but based on facts that have been clarified and responsibilities that have been clearly established,” the source said.

The Saudi crown prince is scheduled to speak at the Future Investment Initiative, an economic forum nicknamed ‘Davos in the desert’, this afternoon.

It is unclear whether he will address the killing of Khashoggi.

His appearance at the event came as US President Donald Trump suggested for the first time that the crown prince may have been involved with the assassination of Khashoggi.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump said: “Well, the prince is running things over there more so at this stage. He’s running things and so if anybody were going to be [involved], it would be him.”

Riyadh operating under Washington’s protection, Rouhani says

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Saudi Arabia would not have assassinated Khashoggi without protection from officials in Washington, Iran’s state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

“No one would imagine that in today’s world and a new century that we would witness such an organised murder and a system would plan out such a heinous murder,” Rouhani said, according to IRNA.

“I don’t think that a country would dare commit such a crime without the protection of America,” he added.

Saudi officials admit to body double scheme: report

Saudi officials have acknowledged a body double was part of an operation aimed at extracting journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul for questioning at a “safe house”, AP news agency reported.

Speaking to AP on condition of anonymity, two Saudi authorities said a team was sent to Turkey on a directive issued by King Salman’s predecessor, King Abdullah, to bring Saudi dissidents abroad back to the kingdom so they could participate in a “national dialogue” over the country’s future.

Asked why such a team would include a forensics expert and a body double, the Saudi officials said had the safe house option been used, the plan was for the forensic expert to wipe clean evidence that the 59-year-old had been at the consulate and for the body double to leave the facility to give the false impression that Khashoggi had left on his own.

Instead, the two officials said, the operation with Khashoggi turned violent after the writer shouted for help upon being told he would be taken to a safe house.

That’s when an unidentified person on the team applied a chokehold, which the officials said was intended only to keep Khashoggi quiet – but ended up killing him instead.

The officials said nine members of the 15-strong team who were inside the consulate at the time then panicked and made plans with a local Turkish “collaborator” to remove the body. One official said the body was rolled up in some sort of material and taken from the consulate by the collaborator.

Neither official could account for Turkish claims that Khashoggi’s body was dismembered with a bone saw inside the building.

US to bar 21 Saudis from entering

Twenty-one Saudis will have their US visas revoked or be made ineligible for US visas over the killing of Khashoggi, US State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

The majority of the 21 have US visas, a US State Department official said.

Trump implies MBS may be involved

Mohammed bin Salman might have taken part in the operation to assassinate Khashoggi, US President Donald Trump suggested for the first time.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump was asked about the powerful crown prince’s possible involvement in the murder.

“Well, the prince is running things over there more so at this stage. He’s running things and so if anybody were going to be, it would be him,” the president responded.

Trump has previously said he believed bin Salman’s denials of playing a role in Khashoggi’s murder.

“This is certainly the closest that President Trump has come to assigning blame – to the crown prince in particular,” said Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Washington, DC.

“At no stage did he link the most senior Saudi leadership with the event until this evening. He has for the first time implied the possibility that the crown prince himself was involved in the killing and it was an assassination ordered from the very top,” he said.

Trump told the newspaper he questioned the crown prince intensely on Khashoggi’s killing “in a couple of different ways”.

“My first question to him was, ‘Did you know anything about it in terms of the initial planning?'”

Bin Salman replied he didn’t, Trump said.

“I said, ‘Where did it start?’ And he said it started at lower levels.”

Asked if he believed the crown prince’s latest denial, the American president paused: “I want to believe them. I really want to believe them.”

Bessma Momani, a senior fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington, DC, called Trump’s comments on bin Salman “damning”.

“He’s made it very clear that he thinks there’s a cover-up, which I think is very interesting because it flies in the face of everything the Saudis have been saying from the beginning in the three-week saga that’s been going on,” Momani told Al Jazeera.

Social media lit up early Wednesday with criticism of Saudi Arabia’s condolence photo which showed Khashoggi’s son with a pained look on his face shaking hands with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

King Salman and the crown prince received Khashoggi’s son Salah and his brother Sahel at the Yamama Palace in Riyadh, where the two royals expressed their condolences.

Fadi Al-Qadi, a Middle East human rights advocate and commentator, denounced the photo-op as “ruthless”.

Others also chimed in on Twitter.

“I think many people online looking at this on social media are saying, you know, this is the face of a son who thinks he’s shaking the hand of the man who killed his father,” analyst Chris Doyle told Al Jazeera.

“It’s another example in this situation where some of the Saudi attempts to win the public relations war is failing.”

For earlier updates, click here

site admin