Turkey to reveal details of probe into journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing
● German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Berlin won’t export arms to Saudi Arabia in wake of killing
● Turkish authorities have put Khashoggi’s fiancée under 24-hour police protection following his death
In a sign of growing pressure on Saudi Arabia, Turkey said it will announce details of its investigation into the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Tuesday and US congressional leaders said the Gulf kingdom – in particular its crown prince – should face severe consequences for the death of the writer in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The announcement on Sunday by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he will “go into detail” about the Khashoggi case in a speech in parliament heightened hopes for some clarity in a case that has been shrouded in mystery, conflicting accounts and shocking allegations since Khashoggi, a critic of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, disappeared after entering the consulate on October 2.
Erdogan spoke after Saudi Arabia, in a statement early Saturday, finally acknowledged that 59-year-old Khashoggi had died in the consulate, though its explanation that he was killed in a “fist-fight” was met with international scepticism and allegations of a cover-up designed to absolve Prince Mohammed of direct responsibility. Saudi Arabia said 18 Saudis were arrested and that several top intelligence officials were fired.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday that Berlin would not export arms to Saudi Arabia for now in the wake of the killing.
“I agree with all those who say when it comes to our already limited arms exports (to Saudi Arabia) that they cannot take place in the current situation,” she told reporters at her party headquarters.
Her foreign minister, Heiko Maas, had already said on Saturday that he currently saw “no basis for decisions in favour of arms exports to Saudi Arabia”.
Germany last month approved €416 million (US$480 million) worth of arms exports to Saudi Arabia for 2018. In the past, military exports by Berlin to Saudi have mostly consisted of patrol boats.
Merkel reiterated that she condemned Khashoggi’s killing “in the strongest terms” and saw an “urgent need to clear up” the case.
“We are far from seeing everything on the table and the perpetrators being brought to justice,” she said.
Merkel added that she would continue to consult international partners about a coordinated reaction to the case.
Germany and Saudi Arabia only returned their ambassadors in September after 10 months of frosty relations following criticism from Berlin of what it said was Saudi interference in Lebanese affairs.
The Khashoggi case has opened a serious new rift with European partners Britain, France and Germany saying in a joint statement earlier that Saudi Arabia must clarify how Khashoggi died inside its Istanbul consulate, and its account must “be backed by facts to be considered credible”.
After a fortnight of denials, Saudi authorities admitted Saturday that Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and prominent critic of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed after entering the consulate.
But it has faced a growing chorus of incredulity over its belated explanation that he died in a “brawl”, as world powers demand answers and the whereabouts of his body.
US President Donald Trump accused Saudi Arabia of lying about the killing, his strongest comments to date on the affair, as pressure built Sunday on the administration to identify and punish those responsible.
In an interview with The Washington Post published late Saturday, Trump stepped back from his stance that the Saudis had earlier provided a credible explanation for the death of the journalist inside their Istanbul consulate, but he said he remained confident in the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Meanwhile, Turkish authorities have put Khashoggi’s fiancée under 24-hour police protection, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Sunday.
The Istanbul governor’s office has put Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish national, under 24-hour police protection, Anadolu said. Authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment on what prompted the decision to give her a security detail.
On the day Khashoggi disappeared, Cengiz waited for hours outside the consulate for him and, when he did not return, got in touch with authorities as he had instructed her to do, she later said.
After Saudi Arabia confirmed his death, she wrote on Twitter in Arabic: “They have taken your body from this world, but your beautiful smile will stay in my world forever.”