ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan urged Saudi Arabia on Friday to disclose who gave the order to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well the location of his body, saying Turkey had more information about the case than it has shared so far.
Erdogan also said Riyadh needed to reveal the identity of the “local cooperator” who Saudi officials earlier said had taken Khashoggi’s body from Saudi agents after the journalist was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
Saudi Arabia said on Thursday the killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was premeditated, reversing previous statements that it was unintended.
Khashoggi’s murder has sparked global outrage and mushroomed into a crisis for the world’s top oil exporting country and Prince Mohammed, the kingdom’s de facto ruler.
“Who gave this order?” Erdogan said in a speech to members of his AK Party in Ankara. “Who gave the order for 15 people to come to Turkey?” he said, referring to a 15-man Saudi security team Turkey has said flew into Istanbul hours before the killing. Erdogan also said Saudi’s public prosecutor was due to meet the Istanbul prosecutor in Istanbul on Sunday.
Saudi officials initially denied having anything to do with Khashoggi’s disappearance after he entered the consulate, before changing the official account to say an internal investigation suggested he was accidentally killed in a botched operation to return him to the kingdom.
On Thursday, Saudi state TV quoted the Saudi public prosecutor as saying the killing had been planned, and that prosecutors were interrogating suspects on the basis of information provided by a joint Saudi-Turkish task force.
Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun and Ali Kucukgocmen; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Mark Heinrich