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Erdogan: 'Highest' Saudi officials behind Khashoggi murder

November 3, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says senior Saudi officials ordered the killing that caused global outrage. One of his senior advisers believes Jamal Khashoggi's body may have been dissolved in acid.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/abaca/Depo Photos

The "highest levels of the Saudi government" ordered the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote on Friday.

In an opinion piece for the Washington Post, Erdogan said a "death squad" followed a "premeditated" plan to kill Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in early October.

Erdogan vowed that Turkey would continue to probe the incident and urged Saudi Arabia to reveal the "puppet masters" behind the murder.

Saudi King not responsible

The journalist's death and Saudi Arabia's inconsistent public statements regarding its responsibility have shocked the world. Riyadh initially denied any involvement, but later said rogue agents had killed him.

Saudis face growing pressure over Khashoggi killing

Turkey claims Khashoggi was strangled to death and dismembered after entering the consulate to pick up marriage documents.

"Who gave the order to kill this kind soul? Unfortunately, the Saudi authorities have refused to answer those questions," Erdogan wrote. He added that he did "not believe for a second" that Saudi leader King Salman was to blame.

Read more: US imposes Saudi sanctions over Khashoggi murder

Body dissolved in acid?

The Turkish president said his government had not yet located the body or identified a "local collaborator." He warned that there would be "severe consequences" if any country attempted to commit a similar act in a NATO country again.

Khashoggi, a former Saudi government advisor, had written several opinion pieces critical of the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Washington Post.

Erdogan's opinion piece came after one of his top advisers, Yasin Aktay, was reported by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet as saying that Khashoggi's body could have been dissolved in acid.

Read more: Jamal Khashoggi: How Pakistan 'ignored' journalist's murder to secure Saudi loan

Netanyahu weighs in

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the killing for the first time on Friday.

Saudi prince vows justice

"What happened in the Istanbul consulate was horrendous and it should be duly dealt with," he said.

But Netanyahu added that Saudi Arabia needed to remain secure because it played an important role in regional and global stability.

amp/bw (dpa, AFP)

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