By Prarthana Mitra
The order to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi came from the “highest levels” of Saudi government, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed Friday, demanding that the “puppetmasters” be unmasked and answerable.
In an op-ed for the Washington Post, published on November 2, Ergodan refrained from directly accusing the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but blamed the state for direct involvement in the US-based Saudi journalist’s gruesome murder on Turkish soil last month. He has, however, dismissed the notion that King Salman was in the know-how, but those officials still trying to cover up the killing should be outed.
“As responsible members of the international community, we must reveal the identities of the puppetmasters behind Khashoggi’s killing,” he wrote.
The murder of Jamal Khashoggi in 7 points
- On October 2, Khashoggi, a columnist for the Post and a vocal critic of the Saudi government, disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
- Turkish media later reported the existence of audio recordings that confirm that the journalist was ambushed and later tortured to death by a 15-man Saudi security team.
- After maintaining plausible deniability in their role in his disappearance, Saudi government admitted late last month that Khashoggi had died at the consulate in an unplanned “rogue operation”. the state still denies knowing what happened to the body.
- The de-facto ruler, bin Salman, also announced that 18 suspects were detained and two government officials have been fired last month.”We know that the perpetrators are among the 18 suspects detained in Saudi Arabia,” Ergodan’s piece continued, “We also know that those individuals came to carry out their orders: Kill Khashoggi and leave. Finally, we know that the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government.”
- Later, the kingdom’s public prosecutor Saud Mojeb also said that the attack was premeditated, angering the Turkish president further, who accused him of lying “through his teeth” initially, and stalling the investigation, in his op-ed.
- The probe persisted, nonetheless. It was soon revealed that Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he had stepped foot inside the consulate. The operation was allegedly carried out by trained forensic specialists and post-mortem experts. Precise gruesome details of beheading and dismemberment have emerged from the tapes retrieved from the office of the consulate’s chief, Mohammad al-Otaibi, suggesting the level of preparation.
- One of the members of the “hit squad”, Salah al-Tabiqi, was recorded on tape telling the consul general to leave the room, asking the rest to listen to music while proceeding to hack Khashoggi’s lifeless body. Another member was captured on CCTV footage outside the consulate, dressed as Khashoggi, long after he was killed.
Ergodan’s piece comes on the heels of his advisor’s report claiming that the Saudi government operatives had “dissolved” Mr Khashoggi’s body after murdering and dismembering him. In a stern warning, he wrote with a note of finality, ”No one should dare to commit such acts on the soil of a Nato ally again. If anyone chooses to ignore that warning, they will face severe consequences.”
Interestingly, In Islam, a human corpse is sacred and the mistreatment of the body is considered as blasphemy. These revelations, if proven true, could leave Saudi Arabia, self-appointed leader of the Muslim world, redfaced.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius
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