Turkish officials have remained firm that the death of Khashoggi, 59, a Washington Post columnist and outspoken critic of the Saudi government under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was at the behest of the highest levels of Riyadh leadership. Erdogan revealed Sunday that he would issue his own statement on the matter this week.
“The Turkish intelligence leaks are a tactic geared towards achieving the strategic goal of weakening the Saudis. The kingdom badly miscalculated when it decided to abduct/kill Khashoggi on Turkish soil, which provided the Turks with a rare opportunity to exploit. Given that the Turks have an interest in making the Saudis as bad as possible the information cannot be trusted,” Bokhari added.
Despite questions surrounding its own personal and press freedoms, Turkey has vowed that it will not allow a cover-up following Khashoggi’s death, which has rocked the international community and sent U.S.-Saudi relations into a tailspin. Turkey also cautioned that consequences could be “dire” for Saudi Arabia
“Turkey is playing a game of thrones. Erdogan is trying to elevate his own status, even while the economy is in freefall. But if he can isolate Saudi Arabia that is a win not just in foreign policy, but in domestic policy this plays very well,” noted James Carafano, a leading expert in national security and foreign policy at The Heritage Foundation. “But for the U.S., this is a challenge. The U.S. has strategic relations with both sides, so it needs to balance interests and values.”
In a Fox News interview Sunday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir described Khashoggi’s death as a “tremendous mistake” but ultimately maintained the government’s claims that Khashoggi had been killed in a “brawl” inside the consulate. Earlier, Saudi officials insisted he had left the consulate unharmed soon after entering on Oct 2. Nonetheless, Turkish officials have indicated that Saudi Arabia’s version of events may be far from the end of the story.