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Erdogan: Khashoggi murder is most controversial event in 21st century, apart from 9/11

September 30, 2019 at 3:11 pm

A candle light vigil to remember journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate on 25 October 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey [Chris McGrath/Getty Images]

Turkey has vowed to continue its efforts to shed light on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, with its president calling it the most controversial event of the 21st century after the 9/11 attacks.

In an article in the Washington Post earlier today, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey will proceed with its investigation into the murder and its search for Khashoggi’s remains, as well as for those responsible.

Throughout the article, Erdogan outlined the numerous questions that are still left unanswered about the details in the investigation, particularly the court proceedings in Saudi Arabia which has been held responsible for ordering the murder in October last year. “The near-complete lack of transparency surrounding the trial, the lack of public access to hearings and the allegation that some of Khashoggi’s murderers enjoy de facto freedom fail to meet the international community’s expectations and tarnish the image of Saudi Arabia,” stated Erdogan. This is “something that Turkey, as its friend and ally, does not desire.”

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Erdogan also emphasised the seriousness of the matter, the extent to which it has affected international relations, and the loss of trust and safety between the press and states within which it operates by calling it “arguably the most influential and controversial incident of the 21st century, barring the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.” He insisted that “no other event since 9/11 has posed such a serious threat to the international order or challenged the conventions that the world has come to take for granted.”

Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist and columnist for the Washington Post who held an influential position in the Saudi press before going into self-exile for criticising the kingdom’s recent policies, disappeared on 2 October after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. It was later confirmed that Saudi agents murdered Khashoggi in a “premediated” attack.

His remains have not been found but international organisations including the UN and CIA have said Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the hit which Turkey said was carried out by a 15-man squad.

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Erdogan ensured, however, that Saudi-Turkish relations were not harmed in the article, reassuring that he “made a clear and unmistakable distinction between the thugs, who murdered Khashoggi and King Salman and his loyal subjects.”

He also stated that Turkey’s concern over the murder is merely “based on our desire to uphold the rules-based international system. Hence our refusal to let the Khashoggi murder be portrayed as a bilateral dispute between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Turkey has always seen, and continues to see, the kingdom as its friend and ally.”

The topic and uproar over Khashoggi’s murder has been reignited in recent weeks, ahead of the anniversary of his disappearance which will be marked on Wednesday.

In an interview with US TV station PBS which is set to be aired tomorrow, Bin Salman has said that he bears responsibility for the killing of Khashoggi “because it happened under my watch” however he went on to deny ordering the killing.

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