Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi “was a victim of a brutal killing.”
President Erdogan made the remarks at a parliamentary group meeting for the ruling Justice and Development Party.
He noted that the killing was “planned” days in advance according to a “roadmap” set up by Saudis.
“Saudi consulate cameras were removed, all footage was deleted from hard drives. Camera footage shows that Khashoggi did not leave the consulate,” he said.
Khashoggi was last seen on October 2 entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and efforts to get his whereabouts have prompted conflicting accounts of information from Saudi Arabian officials, sparking a worldwide outcry.
Saudi officials had initially said the journalist left the consulate unharmed, but on Friday – under intense pressure to explain Khashoggi’s whereabouts, admitted for the first time that he was dead. They said he died from a fist-fight.
His body has however not been found yet.
Turkey demands that Saudi Arabia reveal’s the identity of the “local cooperator” who purportedly took the body, Erdogan stated.
“The murder took place inside the Saudi consulate but it should not be forgotten that it took place on Turkish soil. The Vienna Convention does not allow the investigation of such murders to be prevented by diplomatic immunity,” the president said in his speech.
He called on the Saudi leadership to allow 18 suspects detained there in this case to be tried in Istanbul.
Kashoggi’s killing has prompted Germany to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia, with Berlin urging other European Union member states to do the same.
US President Donald Trump has also said he is “not satisfied” with Saudi Arabia’s explanation, though he had previously appeared to accept Saudi assurances that “rogue killers” may have murdered Khashoggi.