ISTANBUL — Turkey’s president lashed out again at Saudi Arabia over the killing of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, and turned up pressure on the kingdom by invoking the NATO alliance as a means to ensure the perpetrators will be punished.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an opinion piece published by The Washington Post on Friday, reiterated his assertion that the order to kill Mr. Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul came from “the highest levels of the Saudi government.”
At the same time, however, he said he did not believe Saudi King Salman ordered it. That seemed to suggest that he blames Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler.
“No one should dare to commit such acts on the soil of a NATO ally again,” Mr. Erdogan wrote in The Post, which had published columns by Mr. Khashoggi. “The Khashoggi murder was a clear violation and a blatant abuse of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Failure to punish the perpetrators could set a very dangerous precedent.”
Turkish officials have leaked a stream of details about the killing of Mr. Khashoggi at the consulate on Oct. 2. He had gone there to obtain documents that would have allowed him to marry his Turkish fiancée.
The Saudi government, after initially denying Mr. Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, later changed its story several times before acknowledging that a team of agents had traveled from Saudi Arabia and killed him. It said it had arrested 18 people in connection with the killing.
But officials have not said where Mr. Khashoggi’s body is or who ordered the killing.
Prince Mohammed appears to have retained his tight grip on power in Saudi Arabia, despite a growing international consensus that he was behind the killing. The Trump administration has decided to stand by him, according to people familiar with the White House deliberations.
Mr. Erdogan, however, has shown that he has no intention of letting the issue disappear. Mr. Khashoggi was a friend of the president and many of his close advisers, and Mr. Erdogan has taken his killing as a personal affront.
“Some seem to hope this ‘problem’ will go away in time,” he wrote. “But we will keep asking those questions, which are crucial to the criminal investigation in Turkey, but also to Khashoggi’s family and loved ones,” he added.
“At the very least, he deserves a proper burial in line with Islamic customs.”
Mr. Erdogan also harshly criticized the actions of the Saudi consul general and what he described as a lack of cooperation by Saudi investigators.
“Though Riyadh has detained 18 suspects, it is deeply concerning that no action has been taken against the Saudi consul general, who lied through his teeth to the media and fled Turkey shortly afterward,” Mr. Erdogan wrote.
“Likewise, the refusal of the Saudi public prosecutor — who recently visited his counterpart in Istanbul — to cooperate with the investigation and answer even simple questions is very frustrating,” he added. “His invitation for Turkish investigators to Saudi Arabia for more talks about the case felt like a desperate and deliberate stalling tactic.”
Mr. Erdogan signaled he intended to keep up the pressure.
“Had this atrocity taken place in the United States or elsewhere, authorities in those countries would have gotten to the bottom of what happened. It would be out of the question for us to act any other way.”
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