Leaks are undermining the Khashoggi Investigation

Leaks are undermining the Khashoggi Investigation

Yesterday, US President Donald Trump said he was not satisfied with Saudi Arabia’s explanation of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, but did not want to lose investment in the US economy made by the kingdom. Meanwhile, the new details appeared in the investigation of the murder - the Turkish police found a car with the diplomatic numbers in the underroof parking in one of the districts of Istanbul, registered to the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia, in which, according to a preliminary version, the remains of Khashoggi were transported. Also, the rumors about the double of Khashoggi, who was dressed in a journalist's clothes, were spread to prove that he had allegedly left the consulate safe and sound ...

As Bloomberg writes in the article Turkey’s Leaks Are Undermining the Khashoggi Investigation with a reference to the ABC News  U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on his recent visit to Istanbul, heard a recording of the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi being murdered in the Saudi consulate. The State Department denied the report. Pompeo, asked about it during a trip to Mexico City, was emphatic: “I’ve heard no tape. I’ve seen no transcript.” On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his government has not shared any recordings with U.S. officials.

The incident was typical of how information, mixed bewilderingly with misinformation, has emerged

The stated position of the Turkish government is that it is working with the Saudis to get to the bottom of what happened to Khashoggi. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after initially announcing his personal interest in the case (“I am chasing”) has been more circumspect. This suggests that the Turkish leader is more carefully evaluating the leverage he now has over Saudi Arabia. It may be in his power to direct the finger of blame toward Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman or to help deflect the spotlight from him.

The leaks, and the motivation behind them, have become subject of much speculation. A common assumption is that the leakers are indulging in schadenfreude by putting out information embarrassing to the Saudis, and especially those linking Khashoggi’s murder to the crown prince, better known by his initials as MBS. Relations between the countries, never especially warm, have recently worsened over Turkey’s support for Qatar in its dispute with other Persian Gulf states and Saudi backing of Kurdish rebels in Syria.

MBS was reported to have told a group of Egyptian papers in March that Turkey was part of “the contemporary triangle of evil,” along with Iran and extremist religious groups.

There is an obvious way to stop them - conclude the investigation and bring all the evidence to light. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for the quickest clarification of the circumstances of the incident with Khashoggi’s disappearance. "I support the calls for the investigation to take place as soon as possible. We welcome the agreement between Turkey and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the steps to carry out this investigation. I expect the results to be known to the world community," Lavrov told Euronews.

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