ANKARA, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday there were strong signs Jamal Khashoggi’s killing was planned and attempts to blame it on intelligence operatives - Riyadh has suggested it was a rogue operation — “will not satisfy us”.
In a speech to parliament, Erdogan did not mention Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who some U.S. lawmakers suspect ordered the killing. But he said Turkey would not complete its investigation into Khashoggi’s death until all questions were answered.
He said Khashoggi was killed in a “savage way”.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the crown prince, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, disappeared three weeks ago after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.
Turkish officials suspect Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the consulate by Saudi agents. Turkish sources say authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting the killing of the 59-year-old.
Riyadh initially denied knowledge of his fate before saying he was killed in a fight in the consulate, a reaction greeted sceptically by several Western governments, straining relations with the world’s biggest oil exporter.
Following the global outrage prompted by the journalist’s disappearance, U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments have varied from playing down Riyadh’s role to warning of possible economic sanctions.
Trump has also repeatedly highlighted the kingdom’s importance as a U.S. ally and said Prince Mohammed was a strong and passionate leader.
For Saudi Arabia’s allies, the question will be whether they believe that Prince Mohammed, who has painted himself as a reformer, has any culpability. King Salman, 82, has handed the day-to-day running of Saudi Arabia to the 33-year-old prince. (Editing by William Maclean and Jon Boyle)