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Turkey to open international investigation into Khashoggi murder

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says next steps to be taken in coming days and blames 'Western countries' for cover-up
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, left, said "Western countries" are trying to cover up the murder (Reuters)

Turkey will launch an international investigation into the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday.

Cavusoglu was quoted by official Anatolia news agency as saying that further steps into setting up the inquiry would be taken in the coming days.

Turkey has grown frustrated by the lack of cooperation and transparency of a separate Saudi investigation into the murder of Khashoggi, who was allegedly killed and dismembered on 2 October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a hit squad sent from Riyadh.

The CIA has concluded that the kingdom’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, almost certainly signed off on the operation.

However the White House, a staunch ally of Riyadh’s rulers, has said it will stand by the crown prince whether he was responsible or not.

There are Western countries trying to cover this case up. I know the reasons. We know and see what sorts of deals are made. We see how those who spoke of freedom of press are now covering this up after seeing money

- Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

A Saudi source told Middle East Eye previously that Mohammed bin Salman and his father, King Salman, were handed a roadmap by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlining a plan to ride out the crisis.

"There are Western countries trying to cover this case up. I know the reasons. We know and see what sorts of deals are made. We see how those who spoke of freedom of press are now covering this up after seeing money," Anadolu quoted Cavusoglu as saying.

"We, however, will go until the end. We made preparations for an international investigation in the coming days and we will take the necessary steps."

Uncoordinated investigations

Khashoggi, a Middle East Eye and Washington Post columnist, was allegedly murdered and dismembered within seven minutes of entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he was attempting to obtain personal papers.

A royal court insider-turned-prominent critic, he had caught the eye and ire of Mohammed bin Salman and his close circle of advisers.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Salman agreed soon after Khashoggi’s killing came to light to set up a joint investigation into the murder.

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However the Turkish authorities have been dismayed by their Saudi counterparts’ lack of cooperation and apparent attempts at misdirection.

Khashoggi’s remains have not been found, although Turkey is confident that the Saudis know where they are or were disposed of.

The Saudi prosecutor has implicated two of Mohammed bin Salman’s closest allies, top aide Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri.

A trial has opened in Riyadh into 11 people suspected of involvement in the murder, however their names have not been released.

Several media reports suggest Qahtani remains free, and continues to advise the heir to the Saudi throne.