Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke out against what he called the “premeditated murder” of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi before Turkish parliament in Ankara on Tuesday.
Breaking with the Saudi account that Khashoggi’s death was the result of a fight that broke out in the Saudi consulate, Erdogan claimed that it was “clear that this savage murder did not happen at the drop of a dime but was a planned affair.”
“The information and evidences uncovered so far show that Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered,” Erdogan said. “Covering up such a brutal act would wound the conscience of all mankind.”
Erdogan went on to assert that the perpetrators must be held to account and an independent inquiry take place. “It is important,” he added, “that the investigation is led by an impartial group and that other people also linked to this should be held responsible.”
“Neither the Vienna Convention nor other international laws allow the investigation into such a brutal murder to be cloaked behind the shield of diplomatic immunity,” Erdogan said. As such, Erdogan called for the 18 people currently under arrest in Saudi Arabia in connection with Khashoggi’s death to be extradited to Turkey to stand trial.
The Turkish president proceeded to offer additional details about the incident, including confirming that 15 Saudi operatives had met in Istanbul prior to Khashoggi’s death. “So far the facts are, and the evidence is,” Erdogan said, “that Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of a very cruel murder. Who exactly are those 15 people, why have they got together in Istanbul on the day of the murder? Why is the corpse of a murdered person still missing?”