Turkey, US vow to get to bottom of Khashoggi killing
October 24 2018 12:26 AM
Khashoggi
Khashoggi

Reuters Ankara/Washington

* Erdogan rejects official Saudi version
* Trump says Riyadh’s handling was ‘worst cover-up ever’
* Pence says killing was ‘barbaric’
* US to revoke visas for Saudis involved in Khashoggi killing

Turkey and the US vowed on Tuesday to get to the bottom of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and punish those responsible, after Saudi Arabia admitted that the prominent journalist died during a Saudi security operation in Istanbul.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed Saudi efforts to blame the murder on rogue operatives and urged Riyadh to search "from top to bottom" to uncover those behind it, while US President Donald Trump said Riyadh's handling of the matter was “the worst cover-up ever”.

Also, US Vice-President Mike Pence described the killing as "barbaric".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US is revoking the visas of Saudis found to be involved in the killing of Khashoggi. "These penalties will not be the last word," he told reporters on Tuesday.

Khashoggi's death in the Saudi consulate on October 2 has caused global outrage and raised questions about the possible role of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman. Turkish officials suspect Khashoggi, a US resident and critic of the crown prince, was killed and dismembered inside the consulate by Saudi agents.

Erdogan stopped short of mentioning the crown prince who some US lawmakers suspect ordered the killing of the Washington Post columnist.

"The Saudi administration has taken an important step by admitting to the murder. From now on, we expect them to uncover all those responsible for this matter from top to bottom and make them face the necessary punishments," Erdogan said in a speech in parliament.

"From the person who gave the order, to the person who carried it out, they must all be brought to account," he said, adding that Riyadh needed to "uncover all those responsible for this matter from top to bottom".

Turkish sources have said that authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting the killing. Erdogan made no reference to any audio recording.

Trump, however, told reporters he wanted to get all the facts on Khashoggi's death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul before agreeing with Erdogan's assessment. Trump, who sent his CIA director to Turkey to discuss the issue, said he expected to have a report soon.

Meanwhile, Pence said he wants “to assure the American people that we’re going to get to the bottom of it.”

“This brutal murder of a journalist, of an innocent man, of a dissident will not go without an American response and, I expect, without an international response," he said at an event hosted by the Washington Post.

He added that President Trump would ultimately decide whether to impose economic sanctions on Saudi Arabia once all the facts were available, and called the killing "barbaric".



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