Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has demanded that Saudi Arabia reveal the location of Jamal Khashoggi’s body and hand over the suspects in his murder.
Erdogan said that the top Saudi prosecutor will travel to Turkey on Sunday to meet with the top Istanbul prosecutor, and argued that those responsible for killing him should face trial in Turkey.
“Whatever happened, it comes down to these 18 persons. If you are determined, if you want to remove the suspicion and clear the air, these 18 persons are the bottom line to this,” Erdogan said, addressing the provincial heads of his ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara.
If the Saudis can’t make the suspects talk, then Turkey will, he said. “The incident took place in Istanbul. So, hand them to us, and let us judge them,” he said.
After Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi was killed October 2 in its Istanbul consulate, five high-ranking officials were dismissed, including bin Salman’s media chief and the deputy head of the Saudi intelligence service. Eighteen people were arrested.
Riyadh has maintained that neither bin Salman nor King Salman knew of the operation to target Khashoggi. US officials have said such a mission — including 15 men sent from Riyadh — could not have been carried out without the authorization of bin Salman, the country’s de facto ruler.
Erdogan described some of the statements made by Saudi authorities as the Khashoggi case unfolded as “very funny” and said their strangeness had increased the Turkish authorities’ responsibility to act.
“These juvenile statements do not match with the seriousness of government affairs,” he said. “It is obvious that (Khashoggi) is killed. But where? Where is the body?”