Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sharpened his attacks on the Saudi authorities over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and praised the US Senate for blaming the Saudi crown prince for his death.
Mr Erdogan stopped short of saying the killing had been ordered by Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, but he referred to the de facto Saudi leader repeatedly in two speeches delivered at international events in Istanbul on Friday.
Mr Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Ankara has shared audio tapes of the killing with other intelligence agencies that it says depict a gruesome, premeditated murder.
“We learnt from the audio recordings that among those who came are people who are closest to the crown prince,” Mr Erdogan said. “Those who carried out their orders were there.”
Turkish officials privately make clear that they hold Prince Mohammed responsible. A drip-feed of leaks from Ankara has been widely viewed as an attempt to turn international opinion against the crown prince.
Mr Erdogan expressed frustration that some Muslim and western countries had not chosen to take punitive action against Saudi Arabia “in exchange for dollars and riyals.”
Donald Trump has repeatedly said the US will not punish Saudi Arabia over the death of Mr Khashoggi, but on Thursday the US Senate delivered a rebuke to the president by passing a non-binding resolution blaming Prince Mohammed.
Lawmakers approved a second measure recommending the US end its assistance to Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen.
Mr Trump has stressed the Gulf state’s importance to US security, weapons sales and oil prices.
Mr Erdogan welcomed the Senate moves and said he hoped more would follow. Prince Mohammed and other Saudi officials had made misleading comments about Mr Khashoggi’s fate, treating the world like “fools”, he said. “For me, it is clear who the perpetrator is,” he added, without elaborating.
Mr Erdogan, 64, and Prince Mohammed, 33, both see themselves as leaders in the region, but are at odds over Ankara’s close ties with Riyadh’s rivals, Iran and Qatar, as well as its support for Muslim Brotherhood figures.
The Turkish president reiterated his demand that Saudi authorities turn over suspects detained in connection with the Khashoggi killing so they could be tried in Turkey “in line with international law.”
Turkish officials have called for an international investigation into the case, with the foreign minister saying this week talks were underway with the UN on a joint probe.
“Many more things will come out. Humanity will not tolerate this,” Mr Erdogan said.
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