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Iran Press TV

Turkey calls for international inquiry into Khashoggi's killing

Iran Press TV

Mon Dec 10, 2018 06:56PM

Turkey has called for an international investigation into the case of slain Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, after Riyadh refused to extradite two senior Saudi officials suspected of planning his murder in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in October.

Fahrettin Altun, director of communications at the Turkish presidency, said in a statement to Reuters on Monday that the international community should seek justice for the slain journalist under international law after Riyadh reiterated that the suspects in the case would not be extradited for trial in Istanbul.

Altun denounced Riyadh's refusal to extradite the suspects as "very disappointing," and said the measure would play into the hands of critics "who believe Saudi Arabia has been trying to cover up the murder."

The official told Reuters that Saudi authorities had not been sufficiently cooperative and Turkey had seen "little evidence of the Saudi prosecutors intending to shed light on what happened to Mr. Khashoggi."

Therefore "it will be in the best interest of the international community to seek justice for the late Saudi journalist under international law," Altun said.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry warned last month that Ankara may seek a formal United Nations inquiry into Khashoggi's murder case if its dealings with Riyadh came to an impasse.

The Istanbul prosecutor's office concluded last week that there was "strong suspicion" that Saud al-Qahtani, a close aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and General Ahmed al-Asiri, who served as deputy head of the kingdom's foreign intelligence, were among the planners of the journalist's killing.

On Sunday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir ruled out sending the two suspects to Turkey for trial, reiterating that the kingdom had no extradition policy for its citizens.

"We don't extradite our citizens," Jubeir said at a summit in Riyadh.

Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the Saudi crown prince and a US resident, disappeared on October 2 after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documentation for his forthcoming marriage.

Saudi Arabia initially claimed he had left the consulate alive, but weeks later admitted that he was killed inside the diplomatic mission and blamed his death on a group of Saudi operatives.

Turkish authorities believe that a 15-person "hit squad" was sent from Saudi Arabia to Istanbul to kill the 61-yerar-old journo.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the order to slay Khashoggi had been issued from "the highest levels" of the Saudi government, suggesting that the crown prince had ordered such a gruesome crime.

The CIA is said to have concluded that bin Salman had "probably ordered" the murder.

A highly-classified CIA assessment, seen by The Wall Street Journal, said the Saudi crown prince had sent at least 11 messages to al-Qahtani in the hours surrounding the journalist's killing.

A purported transcript of an audio recording of Khashoggi's killing shared with CNN showed that the dissident journalist's death had been the execution of a premeditated plan, unlike what Saudi officials initially claimed.

The transcript described the last painful moments of Khashoggi's life, noting that his screams and gasps could be heard on the tape. It also identified the sounds of saw and cutting as the victim's body was dismembered.

Saudi Arabia has been facing international condemnation over the brutal murder.

Turkey slams rights groups' silence over France protests

Mean while, Erdogan on Monday accused rights activists of double standards over their response to the French "yellow vests" protests after they had criticized Ankara's handling of anti-government demonstrations in Turkey back in 2013.

"Those who defended human rights during the Gezi protests have become blind, deaf and mute to what's happening in Paris," the Turkish president said during a televised speech, referring to the 2013 Istanbul anti-government protests, known as the Gezi Park protests.

"You (activists) mobilized the world during the Gezi events. Why? Because this is Turkey? Come on, explain it (the protests) in the same way now," Erdogan added.

On Saturday, Erdogan criticized the "disproportionate violence" used by riot police against protesters in Paris.

The "yellow vest" movement began three weeks ago over a planned fuel-tax hike, but has since snowballed into a general movement against French President Emmanuel Macron's perceived elitist governance.

Macron, who is expected to address the nation in the coming week, is now experiencing the biggest crisis since being elected 18 months ago.

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