Turkey Calls for International Inquiry in Khashoggi Killing

LONDON — Turkey’s foreign minister on Wednesday called for an international investigation into the killing of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, pointedly reminding Saudi Arabia of Ankara’s determination to keep calling attention to the case. Saudi Arabia is expected this week to conclude its own inquiry.

“An international investigation is absolutely essential,” the foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, told Parliament in remarks reported by the semiofficial Anadolu news agency. “We will do whatever it takes to bring the murder to light.”

Other Turkish officials said separately on Wednesday that the government was weighing requests for an investigation by the human rights commission of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as well as for an independent inquiry under the secretary general of the United Nations.

Mr. Khashoggi, a Virginia resident who wrote columns for The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2 by a team of Saudi agents inside the consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish officials have shared an audio recording of the killing with American and other Western intelligence agencies. The Turks have said that evidence shows the team of agents moved quickly and methodically to kill Mr. Khashoggi and then dismember his body in a premeditated assassination ordered from Riyadh.

Many current and former Western government officials have said they are convinced Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 33-year-old de facto ruler of the kingdom, authorized the killing of Mr. Khashoggi. Saudi officials have said the crown prince had no involvement in or knowledge of the operation.

The Trump administration has centered its plans for the Middle East on a close partnership with Prince Mohammed, and President Trump has said he is awaiting the results of Saudi Arabia’s internal investigation before reaching a conclusion. Mr. Trump has so far decided to stand by Prince Mohammed despite the scandal, people familiar with the White House strategy have said.

But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, a rival to Prince Mohammed for influence in the region and a friend of Mr. Khashoggi’s, has embarked on a campaign to amplify the outrage, dispensing with previous efforts to maintain cordial relations with the young Saudi ruler. Mr. Erdogan has previously suggested in vague terms that he would favor some international inquiry into Mr. Khashoggi’s killing.

With the Saudi prosecutor expected this week to announce findings that the kingdom’s rulers hope will close the case, the Turkish foreign minister’s remarks on Wednesday appeared intended to remind the Saudis that Ankara will continue pushing the question of responsibility.

Saudi Arabia has said it has arrested 18 men in connection with the killing, but the kingdom has not yet disclosed the whereabouts of Mr. Khashoggi’s body or who ordered the operation.

The effectiveness of any international inquiry remains an open question. One of the bodies to which the Turks have considered appealing, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, is based in Jeddah and is heavily influenced by Saudi Arabia.

But a Turkish official said Wednesday that his government envisioned a United Nations inquiry modeled on the independent investigation into the assassination of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan in 2007. That investigation was sharply critical of the Pakistani authorities for failing to protect her and for failing to examine possible evidence related to her killing.

Any international investigation would complicate the efforts of Saudi Arabia and its allies to move past the episode.

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