Erdoğan says Saudi journalist’s murder was ‘planned’

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Turkish President and leader of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during his party's parliamentary group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara, Turkey on October 23, 2018. AFP PHOTOS

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday dismissed attempts by Riyadh to blame Jamal Khashoggi’s “savage” killing on rogue operatives, saying the person who ordered the death of the prominent Saudi journalist must “be brought to account,” Reuters reported

In a speech to parliament about a case that has sparked outrage around the globe, Erdoğan did not mention Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who many believe ordered the killing.

But he said Turkey would not complete its investigation into Khashoggi’s death until all questions were answered.

“Intelligence and security institutions have evidence showing the murder was planned… Pinning such a case on some security and intelligence members will not satisfy us or the international community,” he said.

“From the person who gave the order, to the person who carried it out, they must all be brought to account.”

Erdoğan said the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body was still unknown and he demanded that Saudi Arabia reveal the identity of a “local cooperator” who purportedly took the body.

The Washington Post columnist, a sharp critic of the crown prince, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, disappeared three weeks ago after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.

Turkish officials suspect Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the consulate by Saudi agents.

Turkish sources say authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting the killing of the 59-year-old. Erdoğan made no reference to any audio recording in his speech.

Erdoğan said three operatives arrived in İstanbul the day before his killing on an apparent reconnaissance mission.

The next day 15 people came to the consulate. They included security, intelligence and forensic experts, and consulate personnel were given the day off.

“Why did these 15 people meet in Istanbul on the day of the murder? We are seeking answers to this. Who are these people receiving orders from?” Erdoğan said.

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