Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s cautious reaction to reports that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Istanbul Saudi Consulate was designed to delay a diplomatic crisis with Arab countries, The Guardian newspaper said .
Erdoğan said on Sunday he was saddened by Khashoggi’s disappearance and was waiting for the results of an investigation. “Erdoğan’s tone appeared designed to delay a diplomatic crisis that would be likely to follow if and when he put his full authority to the allegations,” the British newspaper said.
Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist critical of the kingdom’s policies, was last seen entering the consulate building nearly a week ago.
The Guardian quoted journalist Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Erdoğan, as saying there was concrete information in the case and Khashoggi’s disappearance would not remain an unsolved case.
Two Turkish sources with knowledge of the investigation told Reuters a 15-member Saudi team was sent to Turkey to carry out the killing. “We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate,” one of the sources said.
Human Rights Watch called for international investigators to be included in a transparent investigation.
“Given Saudi’s abuse of its diplomatic privileges – and all norms of diplomatic order – by brazenly kidnapping someone and allegedly killing him in their consulate, there should be a global demand for an international investigation into what happened,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s executive director the Middle East and North Africa.
HRW said the incident was a deliberate strategy to sow fear into every Saudi who had spoken out about the government’s shortcomings, whether inside or outside the country.
Turan Kışlakçı, head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association told Turkish state television that Khashoggi had been killed in a barbaric way, been dismembered and 15 people had carried his body parts away.
Saudi officials strongly deny any role in the disappearance.