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Trump turning 'blind eye' on Khashoggi murder, Turkey says

Trump has made his relationship with MbS a cornerstore of his foreign policy [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 November, 2018

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made the remarks to CNN Turk on Wednesday, as global outrage of Trump's handling of Khashoggi murder mounts.

Turkey on Friday said President Donald Trump intended to turn a "blind eye" to the murder of Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi, saying Washington's ties with Riyadh would not be harmed.

"In one sense, Trump is saying 'I will turn a blind eye'," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with CNN Turk broadcaster, referring to Trump's continued support for Saudi Arabia, which has committed to billions of dollars in US weapons contracts.

Trump's backing comes despite global outrage over the grisly killing that has tarnished the image of the kingdom's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Trump on Tuesday glossed over the CIA's reported conclusion that the the crown prince had authorised the killing.

"Maybe he did and maybe he didn't!" Trump said, implying MbS's culpability in Khashoggi's killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October. 

After persistent denials and numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh finally admitted Khashoggi was killed in the consulate and his body was dismembered.

Trump was widely pilloried for what critics called his mercantile priorities that made him appear more like a lobbyist for Riyadh, raising the prospect of strong congressional action against Saudi Arabia.

Trump made his first foreign visit as US president to the kingdom, and has touted Saudi Arabia and its powerful crown as lynchpins of his regional aims to contain Iran.

On Wednesday, Trump thanked Riyadh for lower oil prices. The US president has routinely tweeted about the price of brent crude, and has called on Saudi Arabia to pump more oil to bring the price down. 

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