Erdogan advises Saudi Attorney General 'not to spare certain people'
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has advised Saudi Arabia's chief prosecutor Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb to try to understand who ordered the murder of dissident journalist and a critic of Saudi royals, Jamal Khashoggi.
Iran Press/Asia: The Turkish President urged the Saudi Attorney General on Tuesday "not to spare certain people" in his investigation.
Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb, the Saudi attorney general, was visiting his country's consulate in Istanbul where dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered, the Turkish media reported.
The killing-in-cold-blood of Khashoggi has brought unprecedented international scrutiny on Saudi Arabia, with Erdogan pressing Riyadh to reveal the truth about the case, including the whereabouts of Khashoggi's missing body.
The Turkish president said a 15-person team travelled from Riyadh to kill Khashoggi.
Khashoggi had been a prominent critic of Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the son of the King, who managed to depose his cousin in a palace coup and replace him in a bizarre power grab.
Speaking to reporters in Ankara on Tuesday, Erdogan asked: "Who sent these 15 people? As Saudi public prosecutor, you have to ask that question."
This happened shortly after the head of the Saudi investigation, Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb, entered the diplomatic compound.
"Now we have to solve this case. No need to prevaricate, it makes no sense to try to save certain people," Erdogan said.
Saudi Arabia is seeking to draw a line under the crisis after offering a series of differing narratives following the disappearance of the journalist, who was an insider in Saudi royal circles before going into self-imposed exile in the United States last year.
Mojeb travelled to Istanbul this week after being the first Saudi official to acknowledge the killing was "premeditated" based on the results of Turkey's investigation.
He met Istanbul chief prosecutor Irfan Fidan on Monday and asked to be given the full findings of the Turkish investigation, including all images and audio recordings, Turkish broadcaster TRT reported.
The Turkish investigators rejected the request, TRT said, instead calling on the Saudi prosecutor to reveal information about the location of Khashoggi's body.
They also repeated Erdogan's call for the 18 suspects detained by Saudi Arabia over the murder be sent to Turkey for trial, according to TRT. Riyadh has refused the request.
Mojeb met with Fidan again on Tuesday before entering the consulate without making a statement.
Khashoggi, 59, had entered the diplomatic compound to obtain paperwork for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.
On Monday, Cengiz hit out at Donald Trump's response to his murder, saying the US president must not let Riyadh cover up the killing.
"I am extremely disappointed by the stance of the leadership of many countries, particularly in the US," Hatice Cengiz told a memorial event in London late Monday.
"President Trump should help reveal the truth and ensure justice be served. He should not allow my fiance's murder to be covered up."
She said she believed the Saudi regime knew where Khashoggi's body was and called for the "evil criminals and their cowardly political masters" to be held to account.
After Turkish media published gruesome reports of torture and decapitation, Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi, a former insider turned critic, was killed inside the consulate.
Riyadh has detained 18 suspects as it seeks to draw a line under the crisis, which has damaged the kingdom’s reputation abroad.
After denying any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi for almost three weeks, Saudi authorities have now accepted that the killing was “premeditated.” Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman told the Future Investment Initiative conference, dubbed “Davos in the Desert”, that all culprits in the Khashoggi murder should be punished. However, he is widely-believed to have ordered the murder himself.
After Khashoggi was killed, his body was reportedly given to "local co-conspirators", and Erdogan urged Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir to identify them.
"Again either the Saudi foreign minister or the 18 suspects must explain who the local co-conspirators are," Erdogan said, adding "Let's know who this co-conspirator is, we can shed further light."
Beyond the detention of the 18 suspects, five Saudi intelligence chiefs have been sacked, including two who were part of Prince Mohamed's inner circle.
The affair has tarnished the image the crown prince, the de facto leader of the oil-rich Persian Gulf nation, who has positioned himself as a reformer.