Riyadh needs to clar­ify its true in­ten­tions re­gard­ing the Khashoggi case and help bring the re­spon­si­ble par­ties in this hor­ri­ble mur­der to jus­tice

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page - Nagehan Alçı

THERE has been lit­tle progress in solv­ing the Khashoggi case since Turkey seems to be the only ac­tor keep­ing the sub­ject in the head­lines and pres­sur­ing Riyadh to help bring the re­spon­si­ble to jus­tice

Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan re­turned home af­ter at­tend­ing the G20 sum­mit in Ar­gentina and then vis­it­ing two other Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries, Venezuela and Paraguay, as part of diplo­matic af­fairs. Er­doğan held sig­nif­i­cant meet­ings with world lead­ers at the sum­mit, but the two most im­por­tant ones were with U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. The gath­er­ing with Trump lasted 50 min­utes and the fu­ture of north­ern Syria and the mur­der of Saudi jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi were par­tic­u­larly dis­cussed in de­tail.

TurkStream, mean­while, was the top is­sue in the talks be­tween Er­doğan and Putin as the pipe­line pro­ject that is set to cross be­neath the Black Sea from Rus­sia to Turkey is of vi­tal im­por­tance for bi­lat­eral ties. The Idlib sit­u­a­tion and the Syr­ian civil war also oc­cu­pied the agen­das of the two lead­ers dur­ing their talk. Er­doğan declar­ing Satur­day that an agree­ment for par­tial re­moval of visas be­tween Turkey and Rus­sia had been reached proved to be a pos­i­tive out­come of the meet­ing be­tween the two lead­ers. Er­doğan also met with the Bri­tish, Ja­panese, Chi­nese, Dutch and Chilean lead­ers as well.

How­ever, the most sur­pris­ing name in the Buenos Aries gath­er­ing was ob­vi­ously Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man (MBS), who came to the Ar­gen­tine cap­i­tal amid ac­cu­sa­tions re­lated to the Khashoggi case. What’s more sur­pris­ing is the crown prince held talks with many lead­ers ex­cept Er­doğan. The friendly high-five be­tween MBS and Putin es­pe­cially left an un­for­get­table mark on the sum­mit.

In the mean­time, Er­doğan didn’t change his consistent stance on the Khashoggi mur­der and didn’t even look the crown prince in the face. At a press con­fer­ence dur­ing the sum­mit, Er­doğan reaf­firmed that the Khashoggi in­ves­ti­ga­tion should be com­pleted and that the cul­prits must be found as soon as pos­si­ble.

Er­doğan noted that no one at the sum­mit, ex­cept Cana­dian Prime Min­ster Justin Trudeau, ex­pressed suf­fi­cient con­cern over the Khashoggi case and also re­it­er­ated Ankara’s de­mand that the Saudis ex­tra­dite the sus­pects for a proper in­ves­ti­ga­tion. There hasn’t been any pos­i­tive re­sponse from Riyadh so far.

As Er­doğan high­lighted once again, the Khashoggi mur­der is a test for the whole world, as it is not only a crime re­lated to the Saudi royal fam­ily. Nev­er­the­less, while all fin­gers point at the crown prince, the de facto ruler of the king­dom, it is a must for the whole world to take ac­tion. Ac­cord­ing to Er­doğan and many oth­ers too, MBS is dif­fer­ent from the rest of the royal fam­ily as the fam­ily wishes to find the killers and bring them to jus­tice. There is no doubt that solv­ing the Khashoggi case will mostly ben­e­fit the Saudi royal fam­ily’s in­ter­ests.

How­ever, Riyadh in­sists on keep­ing the mur­der out of the spot­light, al­though the king­dom’s pub­lic prose­cu­tor says that Khashoggi was killed in­side the con­sulate build­ing as a re­sult of a rogue op­er­a­tion on the or­ders of an in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer.

In short, there has been lit­tle progress in solv­ing the Khashoggi case since Turkey seems to be the only ac­tor de­ci­sively keep­ing the sub­ject in the head­lines and pres­sur­ing Riyadh to help bring the re­spon­si­ble to jus­tice. We will see whether jus­tice or power will have the last word.

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