By Zuhal Demirci
ANKARA (AA) – One year on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkey has been striving to clarify the brutal murder of the columnist last fall by Saudi operatives in the Kingdom’s Istanbul Consulate.
Since Oct. 2, 2018 when Khashoggi entered Saudi consulate and never heard from again, Turkey has conducted intense diplomatic contacts to find out the perpetrators of the killing and revealing the truth on the case.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has brought the topic up at all international platforms since the murder and his remarks has influenced the international public opinion.
Turkey called on Saudi Arabia for collaboration to uncover the truth while contacting many countries and international institutions. Lots of countries and international institutions issued a call for the clarification of the murder and a punishment for those behind the killing.
The United Nations prepared an extensive report on the Khashoggi killing as part of an international investigation.
The Turkish prosecution on Oct. 2 launched an investigation into the case immediately after the incident.
On Oct. 4, the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned Walid Bin Abdul Karim el-Khereiji, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Ankara, over the killing.
In his first address of the killing on Oct. 7, Erdogan said, “I’m following, I’m pursuing, we will let the world know of the results to be reached here,” as the Saudi side had not taken an action.
Five days after the killing, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry summoned Saudi ambassador again to demand an explanation of the case, and called for an immediate clarification on it.
Erdogan’s remarks on the Khashoggi killing triggered a worldwide attention. Foreign media, especially the authorities of the Western countries, started to question the incident. Many countries released statements concerning the issue on the days following the killing.
England, Germany and France, in a joint declaration, said: “There remains an urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened on October 2nd – beyond the hypotheses that have been raised so far in the Saudi investigation, which need to be backed by facts to be considered credible.
“We thus stress that more efforts are needed and expected towards establishing the truth in a comprehensive, transparent and credible manner.”
Meanwhile, Erdogan had phone calls with several officials, including U.S. President Donald Trump, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also discussed the issue with his US. counterpart Mike Pompeo and then-Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Adel al-Jubeir.
While the Saudi side kept denying the killing, Turkish officials insisted on a collaboration.
- Phone talk of Turkish president, Saudi King
Following an Oct. 14 phone conversation between Erdogan and Saudi king Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the two countries agreed on a clear and transparent collaboration over the Khashoggi killing.
After an intense diplomacy carried out by Erdogan and Turkish officials, the UN Foreign Affairs Council addressed the issue, and EU Council President Donald Tusk called for a “through investigation” into the case and “punishment of the perpetrators”.
Visiting Turkey following the killing, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Erdogan, Cavusoglu, Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, and Ibrahim Kalin, presidential spokesman.
As the Khashoggi killing gained wide echo worldwide day by day, CIA Director Gina Haspel visited Turkey to be briefed by Turkish authorities over the incident.
Meanwhile, the UN said it would evaluate a possible demand of Turkey for an investigation into the killing.
As part of global concern, the European Parliament (EP) passed a draft resolution that called for sanctions on Saudi authorities if an international probe into the case found out those behind the killing.
- Turkey didn’t let the killing get covered
President Erdogan raised the Khashoggi case on all international platforms. “Neither the Islamic world nor the international public opinion will be satisfied until all of people responsible for this brutal murder, including those giving order and perpetrating it, are revealed,” he told the G20 Summit in Argentina on Dec. 1.
Evidences provided for the global community forced the Saudi administration to take action to clarify the killing.
The Saudi authorities had to take action after Erdogan said that 18 Saudi operatives of the killing should face trial in Turkey, and Cavusoglu called for an international investigation on Nov. 14.
Saudi prosecutors revealed the “partial” outcomes” of the investigation.
Arrest warrants were issued for Saud Al Qahtani, the former advisor to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, and Ahmad Asiri, the vice president of the Saudi intelligence office.
They were accused of “murdering deliberately, premeditatedly with monstrous intent and torment”.
- UN appreciates Turkey’s effort for justice
Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, visited Turkey on Jan. 28 for an international investigation into the killing of Khashoggi. Accompanied by experts, Callamard met Turkish officials throughout her week-long visit.
“Evidence collected during my mission to Turkey shows prime facie case that Mr. Khashoggi was the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the State of Saudi Arabia,” Callamard said in a statement following her Turkey mission on the killing.
Underlining that the murder of Khashoggi violated the international law and relations, Callamard said: "Turkey’s efforts to apply prompt; effective and thorough; independent and impartial; and transparent investigations -- in line with international law -- had been seriously curtailed and undermined by Saudi Arabia.”
In a 101-page report on June 19, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to launch an “additional criminal investigation” on the Khashoggi killing.
The report said: "It is the conclusion of the Special Rapporteur that Mr. Khashoggi has been the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law."
Khashoggi was a journalist and columnist for the Washington Post. He was murdered brutally on Oct. 2, 2018 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
According to Yasin Aktay, a sociologist and advisor to Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party and a friend of Khashoggi, he was murdered because the Saudi government viewed him as someone who had the potential to organize the opposition.
After weeks of denying any involvement in the crime, Saudi Arabia later admitted that Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate but claimed the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of any plot to murder the journalist.
*Dilan Pamuk contributed to this story from Ankara