Turkey's Erdogan says people are paying 'serious money' to bury Jamal Khashoggi's murder

Accusation at G20 summit comes after Trump insists 'no-one' is accusing Saudi prince

Tim Wyatt
Monday 01 July 2019 16:58
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Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, speaking at the G20 summit in Osaka
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, speaking at the G20 summit in Osaka

Someone is paying “serious money” to suppress investigations into the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, the president of Turkey has said.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the remarks after the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

In his brief comments to journalists, first reported by the Turkish news channel NTV on Monday, he did not elaborate on what he meant or who he was referring to.

Khashoggi, a long-time critic of the Saudi Arabian regime and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October last year.

A UN report concluded there was “credible evidence” that Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Crown Prince and de facto leader of the oil-rich nation, was responsible for ordering the dissident’s death at the hands of a hit squad.

Riyadh has dismissed this and insists the men who murdered Khashoggi and then dismembered his body with a bone saw were rogue agents who panicked during a botched interrogation.

In December, Mr Erdogan accused Prince Mohammed’s “closest” associates of being behind the killing, citing audio recordings of the murder captured by Turkey’s intelligence agencies.

At the Osaka summit, Theresa May had a 20-minute meeting with Prince Mohammed, where she pressed him on ensuring an “open and transparent” legal process over the murder.

Currently 11 people are on trial in Riyadh in connection with Khashoggi’s death, but the hearings are closed to the press and none of the defendants have been named.

Saudi Arabia’s closest Western ally, the United States, has only made limited attempts to hold the regime accountable.

'Khashoggi Way' sign erected outside Saudi Embassy in Washington DC

Although the US Senate has voted overwhelmingly in favour of holding Prince Mohammed responsible, Donald Trump has so far taken little action.

After meeting with Prince Mohammed at the G20, Mr Trump insisted that “nobody so far has pointed directly a finger at the future king of Saudi Arabia” in relation to the murder, ignoring the clear findings of the UN, his own CIA and several other Western nations.

He also had talks with Mr Erdogan in Osaka, describing the increasingly authoritarian Turkish president as a “tough” leader.

“He's tough, but I get along with him," Trump said. "Maybe it's a bad thing, but I think it's a good thing."

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