What Erdogan did and didn't say on Khashoggi

In his much-anticipated speech on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered the first on-the-r...

Posted: Oct 23, 2018 12:57 PM
Updated: Oct 23, 2018 12:58 PM

In his much-anticipated speech on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered the first on-the-record timeline of events surrounding the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

While it was the first time that a member of the Turkish government has spoken publicly in detail about the case, Erdogan added little new to the accounts that have already emerged from private briefings by Turkish officials.

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Erdogan said Khashoggi's death was the result of a "ferocious" premeditated murder, rejecting Saudi Arabia's claim that the journalist's killing was accidental.

But Erdogan's speech -- which Turkish officials said would reveal the "naked truth" of Khashoggi's murder -- was significant as much for what he didn't say as for what he did.

Here's what Erdogan said:

  • On October 1, the day before Khashoggi was killed, a team of three Saudis arrived in Istanbul on a charter flight, and settled into a hotel. Meanwhile, a team from the consulate carried out a reconnaissance mission in Belgrad and Yalova forests.
  • On October 2, the day Khashoggi was killed, 12 more Saudis arrived in Istanbul in two groups -- one of three, and another of nine. The larger group included generals.
  • Before Khashoggi's arrival at the consulate on October 2, the security cameras in the building were disconnected.
  • The Saudis deployed a body double for Khashoggi at various locations around Istanbul. CNN has reported that the body double left the consulate by the rear door about 90 minutes after Khashoggi arrived.
  • After Saudi Arabia admitted its involvement in the killing, King Salman told Erdogan that 18 people had been arrested in Saudi Arabia -- the 15 previously identified as having flown in from Riyadh and three other consulate staff.
  • Erdogan said an independent investigation could not be held in Saudi Arabia and demanded that the suspects be tried in Turkey. Erdogan added that the Vienna Convention offering diplomatic immunity was a "matter of debate" in this case.

What he didn't say:
Erdogan made no mention of a recording reported to exist of Khashoggi's alleged torture and killing.
He gave no details about how Khashoggi died, save for describing the killing as "ferocious." Turkish officials have told CNN that Khashoggi's body was dismembered. A Turkish official told The New York Times that one of the Saudis arrived with a bone saw.
Erdogan failed to mention Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by name, referring only to the Saudi King.

  • Erdogan made no mention of a recording reported to exist of Khashoggi's alleged torture and killing.
  • He gave no details about how Khashoggi died, save for describing the killing as "ferocious." Turkish officials have told CNN that Khashoggi's body was dismembered. A Turkish official told The New York Times that one of the Saudis arrived with a bone saw.
  • Erdogan failed to mention Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by name, referring only to the Saudi King.

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