President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who addressed journalists over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi Arabia embassy in Istanbul, stated that it was planned in advance.
President Erdogan who claims contradicted the Gulf kingdom’s account of the journalist’s death, is said to be the most detailed to be made in public by Ankara since Khashoggi’s disappearance earlier this month, significantly raising the pressure on the Saudi royal family just as it hosts a high-profile investment conference.
Khashoggi’s killing has triggered more international condemnation of the Gulf state than at any point since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took de facto control last year.
“We have strong evidence in our hands that shows the murder wasn’t accidental but was instead the outcome of a planned operation,” Mr Erdogan said in speech to members of his parliamentary party. “Khashoggi was murdered in a savage manner.”
According to President Erdogan, investigations showed that the killing was planned several days in advance and that a team of 15 people had flown into Istanbul on the day of the crime before leaving the same day.
“People who had qualifications related to the incident gathered in Istanbul,” he said. “Why did they come to Istanbul? What instructions were given to them and by whom? We need to know.”
Mr Erdogan urged the Saudi leadership to “work hard to reveal the names of those involved from bottom to top” and called for 18 people arrested in Saudi Arabia last week in connection with the killing to be put on trial in Turkey.
“People who had qualifications related to the incident gathered in Istanbul. On whose orders did they come? We want an answer.” Erdogan also asked why the consulate was only opened to Turkish police days after the disappearance for an investigation. “Why has the body still not been found? Dear members, let me tell you that the Saudi authorities have taken an important step confirming the crime, the killing. Now we ask Saudi authorities to work hard to reveal the names of those involved from bottom to top.”