Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the United States of maintaining a “silence” on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed by a Saudi hit team in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.
“I cannot understand America’s silence ... we want everything to be clarified because there is an atrocity, there is a murder,” Erdogan told an interview with state-run TRT television. “The Khashoggi murder is not an ordinary one.”
Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and Saudi regime critic, was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
He visited the consulate to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman.
Turkey says that Khashoggi was killed by a team of 15 Saudis who strangled him at the kingdom’s diplomatic mission.
Riyadh, after denying the killing for two weeks, eventually described it as a “rogue” operation but denied any involvement by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.
The case has caused strains in the kingdom’s ties with Washington.
Turkish officials are seeking answers from Saudi Arabia to a number of questions including who order the hit, and the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body.
Unhappy with Riyadh’s co-operation in the investigation, Ankara has also called for an international inquiry.
A UN judicial expert investigating the murder met this week with Turkish authorities in Ankara and Istanbul and carried out inspections outside the Saudi consulate.
Agnes Callamard, the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, has said that she would present her report by the end of May.
“The report will be made public a few weeks before I present it to the human rights council in Geneva, so end of May possibly,” she said.
During her visit to the Saudi consulate, Callamard was accompanied by British lawyer Helena Kennedy and forensic professor Duarte Nuno Vieira, according to Anadolu news agency.
“We just wanted to have a sense of it,” she told reporters.
The trio did not enter the consulate.
The UN team is still waiting for the Saudi authorities to allow access to the consulate, Callamard told reporters, according to Anadolu.
Eleven men are on trial in Saudi Arabia accused of involvement in the murder with the attorney-general seeking the death penalty for five of the defendants.
Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said last week that Callamard is investigating what evidence there is pointing to the prince’s responsibility.
He also called for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to share its intercepted recordings of the crime.
Over the weekend, an adviser to President Erdogan, Yasin Aktay, said that the UN team members “will listen to the voice recordings”.
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