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Turkish pressure keeps up over killing

China Daily | Updated: 2018-11-15 09:35
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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, October 23, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has exerted further pressure on Saudi Arabia, by sharing with Western allies the recordings related to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Erdogan said on his plane returning from a weekend visit to France that he discussed the Saudi journalist's killing with the US, French and German leaders in Paris where they marked the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice on Sunday.

"We played the recordings regarding this murder to everyone who wanted the tapes from us. Our intelligence organization did not hide anything. We played them to all who wanted them including the Saudis, the United States, France, Canada, Germany, Britain," he said.

"The recordings are truly appalling," said Erdogan, without giving further details.

He went on to say that a Saudi intelligence officer was shocked when he listened to the recording and said that a person "must be high on heroin" to commit such an horrific act.

Khashoggi, 59, a critic of Riyadh, was killed on Oct 2 inside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, where he had gone to pick up official documents for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee.

The killing has provoked global criticism of Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter and a supporter of US President Donald Trump, who has no intention of cutting ties with the kingdom.

Trump on Tuesday tapped John Abizaid, a top US general from the Iraq War who has studied the Middle East for years, as ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The 67-year-old wrote his master's thesis at Harvard University about Saudi Arabia, studying how the kingdom makes its decisions on military spending, in a paper that won acclaim in academic circles.

Body still not found

Riyadh first denied any knowledge or involvement in the crime before admitting it and blaming it on "rogue" forces inside the state apparatus. It said it arrested 18 suspects last month.

The body of the writer has not been found, despite extensive probe by Turkish authorities. Turkey's chief prosecutor has said Khashoggi was strangled and then dismembered as part of a premeditated plan. There have been claims that his body was dissolved in acid.

Experts said Erdogan has been trying to curb Saudi influence in the Middle East by using the Khashoggi case to increase pressure on Riyadh, which has chilly ties with Turkey.

"Turkey has continued its efforts to keep the international attention on the case. The Turkish government made it clear that Saudi's efforts to let this murder fade away will not be allowed and it will continue to keep the affair alive," said Serkan Demirtas, a Turkish political analyst.

Xinhua and AFP contributed to this story.

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