West aims to cover up murder of Khashoggi, FM Çavuşoğlu says

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 22.01.2019 17:40

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Monday stated that some Western countries are trying to cover up the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"We know and see what sorts of deals are made. We see how those who spoke of freedom of press are now covering this up after seeing money," Çavuşoğlu said at a youth meeting in Istanbul.

The kingdom initially denied any role in Khashoggi's disappearance before acknowledging that he was murdered inside the consulate but passed the buck to rogue agents, while insisting that the crown prince had no prior knowledge of the matter, an explanation far from convincing for many.

Previously, the kingdom's attorney general sought the death penalty for five of the 11 defendants charged with the murder of Khashoggi as their high-profile trial opened in Riyadh. All 11 accused were present with their lawyers at the opening hearing in the capital, according to a statement by Attorney General Saud al-Mujeb carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The statement added that the prosecution demanded death sentences for five suspects, adding that the interrogation of the suspects continues. Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey acted wisely in the case, adding that they were well aware of the difficulties in shedding light on the murder.

Ankara has used every means available to bring those responsible to justice and maintaining international pressure. Turkish officials previously said they shared evidence with Saudi Arabia and other nations about Khashoggi's killing and repeatedly called for the suspects to be extradited to Turkey, where the crime was committed. Saudi authorities have denied Turkey's requests and said the suspects will be tried in the kingdom.

Khashoggi's murder prompted an unprecedented international outcry and forced many countries to reassess their ties with Riyadh. Although Saudi officials have denied numerous times that the royal family and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had no prior knowledge of the murder, all evidence has been pointing to the crown prince as the mastermind.

"Now we have made preparations for an international probe in the coming days. We will take the necessary steps," Çavuşoğlu added.

Turkey has repeatedly said it would demand a probe into the incident from the U.N.

On December 2018, Çavuşoğlu underscored that even if the investigation process is halted, Turkey will carry the investigation of the murder to the U.N. and the international arena, adding that Ankara is still consulting with the U.N. about the case.

Pointing out that the policies pursued by Turkey during the investigation have been appreciated worldwide, Çavuşoğlu said the Khashoggi case is a crime and a judicial case, not a diplomatic spat between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Despite the 100 days since the murder took place, Riyadh remains apprehensive about revealing new information regarding the murder.

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