Turkey in talks over UN investigation into Khashoggi murder

Turkey in talks over UN investigation into Khashoggi murder
3 min read
11 December, 2018
Turkey's foreign minister said there had been requests from inside the UN for an investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
There has been speculation that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the hit [Getty]

Turkey is in talks over a possible United Nations investigation into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Turkish foreign minister said on Tuesday.

"We have discussed with the UN secretary general and our counterparts, and will continue to discuss" a possible probe, Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a press conference in Ankara.

The minister said there had been requests from inside the international body for an investigation while his counterparts during the recent G20 summit in Argentina expressed "the will to make a joint application" to the UN.

But Cavusoglu added there has to be a formal request which then has to be approved by the UN Security Council before any UN investigation could begin.

Khashoggi, a contributor to the Washington Post residing in the United States, was murdered after a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October to obtain paperwork ahead of his wedding to his Turkish fiancee.

The 59-year-old former Saudi insider was strangled before he was cut up into pieces by a team of 15 Saudis sent to Istanbul for the killing, according to Turkish officials.

There has been speculation that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the hit but Riyadh has absolved the de facto leader of any blame.

Murder in the Saudi consulate: Inside Jamal Khashoggi's killing
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Saudi consulate: Inside Jamal Khashoggi's killing

Khashoggi's remains have still not been found despite searches of the consulate, the Saudi consul-general's residence in Istanbul and two villas in northwestern Turkey.

Last week, a Turkish court issued arrest warrants for two Saudi men close to Prince Mohammed but Riyadh rejected demands to extradite the suspects.

Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani were described in Turkish court documents as being "among the planners" of the murder.

"Why don't you want these people to be tried in Turkey? I wonder, are you scared that it would be revealed who gave the order for the murder?", the Turkish minister said.

Cavusoglu also repeated his criticism of the "lack of cooperation" by Saudi officials during the Istanbul public prosecutor's official investigation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the grisly killing was ordered at the highest levels of the Saudi government but insisted it was not by King Salman.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister meanwhile rejected demands to extradite suspects connected to the murder.

"We do not extradite our citizens," Adel al-Jubeir told a news conference in Riyadh at the end of a summit of Gulf Cooperation Council states.

On Sunday, CNN revealed the harrowing final words of the slain Saudi journalist were "I can't breathe”, according to a source who has read the transcript of an audio tape of the final moments before the killing.

The transcript made clear the killing was premeditated, and suggests several phone calls were made to give briefings on the progress, the source told the US network.

Turkish officials believe those calls were made to top officials in Riyadh, CNN reported.

The transcript of the gruesome recording includes descriptions of Khashoggi struggling against his murderers, CNN said, and references sounds of the dissident journalist's body "being dismembered by a saw".

The original transcript was prepared by Turkish intelligence services, and CNN said its source read a translation version and was briefed on the probe into the journalist's death.

After initially denying the murder, Saudi Arabia has acknowledged Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate but blamed his death on a "rogue" operation.

Despite speculation that the powerful crown prince ordered the hit, including a report concluded by the CIA, the kingdom has strongly denied he was involved, and has in recent weeks detained 21 people over the murder.

The murder has damaged Riyadh's international reputation and western countries including the US, France and Canada have placed sanctions on nearly 20 Saudi nationals.

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