- Turkey’s top diplomat on Friday slammed President Donald Trump for turning a “blind eye” to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
- Trump on Thursday disputed the CIA’s reported conclusion Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing.
- Trump has largely accepted the Saudi narrative that the prince knew nothing of the incident, and on Tuesday issued a forceful defence of Riyadh over Khashoggi’s killing.
Turkey’s top diplomat on Friday slammed President Donald Trump for turning a “blind eye” to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as the president continues to tout US-Saudi relations amid accusations he’s placed arms sales and oil prices above upholding human rights.
Trump on Thursday disputed the CIA’s reported conclusion Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing, suggesting the agency simply has “feelings” on what happened to the journalist.
“They have not concluded. Nobody’s concluded. I don’t know if anybody’s going to be able to conclude that the Crown Prince did it,” Trump said. “They said he might have done it. That’s a big difference.”
The president also claimed Prince Mohammed “hates” what happened to Khashoggi more than he does, adding that the prince “vehemently” denies involvement.
“I hate the crime, I hate the cover-up. I will tell you this: The crown prince hates it more than I do, and they have vehemently denied it,” Trump said.
Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Saudi Arabia initially denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s fate, but ultimately acknowledged he was killed by agents of the government within the consulate. But the Saudi leadership has maintained Prince Mohammed had nothing to do with it.
Trump has largely accepted the Saudi narrative and on Tuesday issued a forceful defence of Riyadh over Khashoggi’s killing.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reacted to much of this on Friday, telling CNN, “In a way, Mr. Trump’s statement means ‘Come what may, I will turn a blind eye on this.’ This approach is wrong. Money is not everything. We should not distance ourselves from human values.”
Cavusoglu added, “We found the US president’s statement about [Prince Mohammed’s] involvement where he said ‘Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t,’ interesting. What he based this on, we don’t know.”
Trump has so far refused to support any significant changes to the US-Saudi partnership amid bipartisan calls in Congress for the relationship to be reevaluated. The Treasury Department recently sanctioned 17 Saudi nationals allegedly connected to Khashoggi’s killing, and the Trump administration seems to feel this suffices in terms of a response.