LIVE: Erdogan says Turkey has evidence Khashoggi murder was premeditated

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October 23 Oct 2018 16:59 UTC
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Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in a planned operation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a highly anticipated speech to a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

Turkey, he said, is seeking answers as to who had ordered the journalist's murder on 2 October.

"It is clear that this operation did not happen at the drop of a dime, it was a planned operation," said Erdogan. "On whose orders have these people come? We are seeking answers."

We've done a rush transcription of much of the speech and will be updating here with reactions from experts and other developments.

Feel free to leave comments and news tips below on Twitter @MiddleEastEye and Facebook.

Photo: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and King Salman of Saudi Arabia are pictured in Istanbul in 2016. (Reuters)

Saudi dissident: We expected more information from Erdogan

Yahya Assiri, human rights campaigner and head of Saudi ALQST rights group, told Middle East Eye that he had expected more information from Erdogan's speech on Tuesday, but that it nevertheless set out that Mohammed Bin Salman was to blame for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

“We expected something more honest from Erdogan," he said. "We expected more information."

"But the speech is still strong enough when he said he doesn’t trust anyone but the king himself - that means that he did not trust MBS. And he said the Saudi investigation is not enough and the Saudi story was unbelievable and when he said to put the crime on the hands of other people like [Saudi advisor Ahmad] Assiri is not acceptable. It is clear to him that MBS is responsible for the crime."

Assiri - who is not directly related to the Saudi advisor with the same last name - said the fallout from the killing was putting pressure on the Saudis internationally and that MBS' position was under threat.

"Countries are becoming very clear they don’t want to work with MBS and they’re telling the king that MBS is a troublemaker and they don’t want to deal with him in future," he said.

"Kushner and Donald Trump are trying to find an exit for themselves - the pressure will continue and must continue and the only solution for the royal family is to kick out MBS. If not, they will lose a lot."

Eight things we learnt from Erdogan's speech



Erdogan was addressing members of his AKP party in Ankara (AFP)

Here’s Middle East Eye Editor David Hearst’s eight takeaway points on what we’ve learnt from Erdogan’s speech on Tuesday:

  • Turkey is not prepared to accept any Saudi response that seeks to pin the blame for the killing on lower-ranked security and intelligence officials. The investigation into Khashoggi’s killing must reach to the top of the Saudi government.
     

  • Turkey wants to put the 18 people arrested by Saudi Arabia (the 15 suspects who flew in, plus three embassy staff) on trial in Istanbul
     

  • Turkey is going to tell the full story of the killing through the investigation currently being conducted by Istanbul’s chief prosecutor
     

  • The ferocity of the murder, and evidence indicating that the suspects were tipped off several days before Khashoggi’s visit to the consulate and conducted reconnaissance beforehand, suggest that the attack was premeditated, contradicting Saudi Arabia’s story
     

  • Erdogan put on record many details about the investigation that had previously only been reported as a result of Turkish leaks to the media
     

  • Erdogan targeted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by not naming him. By contrast, he said he did not doubt the sincerety of King Salman
     

  • He said that he wants international support for Turkey’s investigation into the killing
     

  • Erdogan implied that other regional actors could have been involved in the plot; a possible reference to the UAE, which is tightly allied with Riyadh through the close relationship between bin Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed

Analyst: Erdogan has lost confidence in King Salman's grip on power

David Wearing, a lecturer at Royal Holloway University in London, said Erdogan’s frequent mention of King Salman in his speech was a sign that the Turkish president lacks confidence in the ruler's grip on power. 

"Erdogan's repeated mention of having confidence in King Salman says a lot about his viewpoint on who controls Saudi Arabia," Wearing told MEE.

It's no different from when a chairman of a football club says he has complete confidence in the manager. That is usually a sign that he has no confidence

- David Wearing, Royal Holloway University

"It's no different from when a chairman of a football club says he has complete confidence in the manager. That is usually a sign that he has no confidence. This situation is similar to that.

"The fact that he has to say he has confidence in King Salman speaks volumes. Everyone knows who controls Saudi Arabia and it certainly isn't King Salman. It is Mohammed bin Salman."

Commenting on next steps, Wearing said that the renewed criticism of Saudi Arabia had been a long time coming.

Western governements "should have stopped having relations with Saudi Arabia years ago over Yemen. It is certainly not a new issue," he said.

"What the Khashoggi saga has done has crystalised a range of issues and bought them to the fore. The conversation has blown wide open and not just about Khashoggi, but about a lot of issues which makes it really uncomfortable for policymakers and Saudi apologists."

Analyst: Key takeaway from Erdogan's speech is call for extradition

Yusuf Erim, a Turkey analyst at the state-backed TRT World News channel, said that Erdogan’s speech showed that he will stay on the “Khashoggi case to the very end".

Speaking from Istanbul, Erim told MEE: “Key takeaways from Erdogan’s speech are that he has signalled extradition, and said that the crime was committed in Istanbul, and the perpetrators should therefore be tried in Turkey."

'Mentioning MbS without evidence will lead to a diplomatic upset, and that is the last thing Erdogan would want'

- Yusuf Erim, TRT World analyst

He added that Erdogan most likely avoided mentioning Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to avoid a diplomatic upset.

“You have to realise that he is president and not allowed to mention MbS until he has concrete evidence,” said Erim. “Mentioning MbS without evidence will lead to a diplomatic upset, and that is the last thing Erdogan would want.”

Once Turkish prosecutors hand down their indictment, Erim said he believes Turkish officials who have been speaking anonymously will talk on the record. 

"Turkish law stipulates that until a prosecutor hands out an indictment, it is illegal for anyone to divulge or leak information,” said Erim. “This will lead to even more transparency to the process.” 

Analyst: Erdogan has 'cast doubt on the Saudi narrative'

Marc Owen Jones, a research fellow at Exeter University, said that while Erdogan said nothing surprising in his speech this morning, he confirmed reports that Khashoggi was “killed in a brutal way that was a planned operation".

“This was probably the most important takeaway from Erdogan’s speech, as it casts doubt on the official Saudi narrative,” the Gulf specialist told MEE.

Commenting on the exclusion of MbS in the speech, Jones added: "Erdogan could either be trying to signal that he is willing to have a dialogue with KSA and maintain relations, but only with partners that are not like MBS.

"Or it could be Erdogan being wary of mentioning MBS over fears that he is still powerful, and doesn't want to cause any further controversy by bringing up his alleged role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi."

Turkish media identifies consulate attache as key Saudi intelligence figure

In a new report on Tuesday, Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah suggested that the attache to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was the main orchestrator of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

According to the report which cites Turkish officials, Ahmad Abdullah al-Muzaini - deputy head of the consulate - was the main Saudi intelligence official operating there.



Picture of Muzaini taken on CCTV (Sabah)

Sabah reported that Muzaini was at the consulate when Khashoggi visited on 28 September, several days before he was killed.

According to Sabah's sources, Muzaini flew later that day to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, where he met with the deputy chief of Saudi intelligence, Ahmad Asiri.

He then returned to Istanbul on 1 October to carry out the assassination the next day. Sabah described Muzaini as the "black box" of the operation and reported that he had been heavily tracked by Turkish intelligence.

Egypt's FM gives King Salman letter from Sisi

As the 'Davos in the Desert' event started, Saudi King Salman received Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shokri at the royal court, according to the Saudi daily newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.

Shokri reportedly delivered a letter to the king from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, but the details of the letter were not revealed.



King Salman meets with the Egyptian foreign minister on Tuesday (Screengrab)

Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan also visited the king. Khan recently told MEE that he would attend the FII conference despite Khashoggi's killing because his country must continue to prioritise good relations with Saudi Arabia due to its dire economic crisis.

“We’re desperate at the moment,” Khan said.

Analyst: Erdogan aimed to present Turkey as a 'rule-of-law' state

Michael Sercan Daventry, writer and curator of the James in Turkey website, told Middle East Eye that Erdogan's Khashoggi speech was aimed at presenting Turkey as a country that upholds the rule of law.

“It was a carefully calibrated speech. Erdogan doesn’t want to ostracise the Saudis and he’s also keen to demonstrate Turkey’s rule-of-law credentials, he’s trying to show that there’s a due process and it needs to be followed," he said.

It wasn’t the moment of clairvoyance that it was plugged as being. There were lots of questions unanswered

- Michael Sercan Daventry, analyst

“But it wasn’t the moment of clairvoyance that it was plugged as being. There were lots of questions unanswered. He’s asked quite a few important questions himself, the most prominent one being ‘Where is his body?’

“But it wasn’t a seminar in ‘This is everything that Turkey knows, now it’s for Saudi to answer’. He raised many more questions than he answered.”

He added that Erdogan was keen not to be overly critical of the Saudi leadership, referring to them in respectful, statesman-like terms.

“He doesn’t want to cut ties with Saudi fully. That was absolutely clear - it was particularly clear from the way he referred to King Salman. He didn't just say 'King Salman'. He called him by his full, ample title. It was a deliberate point of respect.

"He wasn't as complimentary about MBS, but he wasn't particularly rude about him. It broadly fits in to this narrative of him as the alternative leader for the Sunni world and he's been trying to do this for years and this was just another step in that direction."

News outlets pick up on fringe claims that Khashoggi body found

A number of news outlets, including the official state-run Chinese news agency and the Daily Mirror, have cited comments made by a controversial ultra-nationalist politician in Turkey that Jamal Khashoggi's body parts had been found in a well in Istanbul.

Dogu Perincek, head of the tiny Vatan party, said that Turkish security officials had found parts of Khashoggi "in a well in the garden of the consul," according to the Haberler news site.

Although Perincek is not generally regarded as a credible source of information - and is most famous internationally for winning an ECHR battle to have the right to deny the Armenian genocide - his comments were picked up by foreign news outlets.



Turkish ultra-nationalist Dogu Perincek in court (AFP)

The China Xinhua News agency, which has 11.7 million followers on Twitter, tweeted out that Khashoggi's body had been found, while the Daily Mirror reported on the comments as well, while adding that the Turkish government had "not offered a comment on the claims".

The report was also picked up by Sputnik, Al-Mayadeen News, and a number of Turkish outlets.

During his speech on Tuesday, Erdogan said the body of Khashoggi was "nowhere to be found".

Perincek has previously told Middle East Eye that he believed the US was behind a plan to create a Kurdish state in the Middle East in order to divide Turkey, and has called for Turkey to break away from the US, EU and NATO and form new alliances with Russian and China.

Erdogan: 'We will follow the matter to the very end'

"Why did the 15 people gather in Istanbul on the day of murder? We are looking for answers. Who did they take the order from? Why did they let us search the consulate building days later, instead of doing it immediately?

"When the murder was so clear, why have so many inconsistent statements been made? With the statement that the body was given to a local collaborator, because it’s an official statement, I ask, who is this local collaborator?

"Because it’s not someone ordinary who mentions this local collaborator. This is an official of Saudi Arabia. Then you have to declare who this local collaborator is. No one, until these questions are answered, should give the slightest thought to this matter being covered up.

"Our security and intelligence units have some information currently being assessed and they point to this being planned.

"The file in the prosecutor’s office leaving some security and intelligence forces holding the bag will not satisfy us or the international community. The human conscience will be satisfied only when the person who gave the orders is brought to account.

"I do not doubt the sincerity of King Salman. But such an investigation should be carried out by a delegation that is fair, and truly unbiased. Other countries should also be involved. International law, Islamic law and Saudi law require this.

"As Turkey, we will follow the matter to the very end and we will make sure that whatever the requisite of our own law, that it will be upheld.

"I’m making a call today. This call is to the high-level executives. The incident took place in Istanbul. Therefore, the adjudication of these 15 plus three people should be carried out in Istanbul. That’s my proposal.

"The decision is at his [the king’s] discretion, but this is my proposal. This is where the incident occurred.”

Erdogan: Evidence shows Khashoggi victim of gruesome murder

“Above all, this murder may have been committed in the consulate on Saudi sovereign land, but it should not be forgotten that it rests within the borders of Turkey.

"The Vienna Convention can’t allow murder to be concealed behind the armour of [immunity]...on the other hand, Jamal Khashoggi, along with being a Saudi citizen, is a world-renowned journalist which gives us an international responsibility on this issue.

"Turkey, along with her own right of sovereignty, will follow this matter on behalf of the international community and on behalf of the consciousness of humanity.

"Evidence that has thus far surfaced reveals Jamal Khashoggi as the victim of a gruesome murder. Covering up such an atrocity will harm and hurt the consciousness of all humanity and we expect the same sensitivity from all parties in the matter, especially the Saudi government.

"By admitting to murder, the Saudi authorities have taken a significant step. Now we expect them to put all those responsible forward and we expect them to be penalised before the law. It is clear that this murder didn’t happen at the drop of a dime. The following questions continue to persist:

"Why have these 15 people gathered in Istanbul on the day of the murder? We are seeking answer to this question. On whose orders have these people come? We are seeking answers. Why has the consul-general’s building not been open right away, only days after? We are seeking answers.”

Erdogan: Attempts to slander Turkey will not deter it

“During a call with the Saudi king, we reached an agreement to create a joint working group, as I have discussed with a prior delegation, which has started its works.

"On instruction from the king, the prosecutor’s office and teams from the police force have entered the consul general building for certain inquiries. Of course, just as the consul general had not allowed us principally, I spoke to the delegation who had come in about the insufficiency of this consul general, which I reiterated to the king himself. And a day after I had spoken, the consul general was removed from his post. The consul general has now returned to his country.

"On 19 October, 17 days after the murder, the Saudi administration has officially admitted that Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the consulate building. In the statement made on behalf of the administration, it was said that Jamal Khashoggi had perished during a melee in the consulate. We had a phone call with King Salman bin Abdulaziz in the late hours of the same day, and he said that 18 people involved in the murder had been arrested.

"On 21 October, we had a comprehensive phone call with Trump and we have agreed on bringing to light every aspect of the issue. As Turkey, we have managed this entire process in line with the seriousness of the state and international law. In the spirit of this, there has been a complaint of slander in various media. We know who had conducted these campaigns with what purpose. These attempts on our country’s reputation will never be able to detain us from seeking the truth.” [Applause]

Erdogan: We have a responsibility

"The consul-general denied [it] at first on 4 October. On 6 October, the consul general invited the Reuters reporter in and nonchalantly tried to defend itself by opening cupboards and some doors. Our security services continued to look into the issue in uncovering new information and documents.

"Our Ministry of Foreign Affairs has constantly kept in touch with their interlocutors. A delegation comprised of special representatives that arrive in our country on 11 October has kept up contact. In the face of the attention (media attention), Saudis then allowed an inspection.

"We have a responsibility. As those in a position of responsibility, it is our right to ask for this. As the fog slowly lifts, other countries have taken action as well and we have at every turn have maintained that we will not remain silent about this and we will take every step required by conscience and law. And as so not to implicate anyone unjustly, we have not said anything until now."

Erdogan: Diplomatic immunity shielded suspects

“At 5:50pm, the fiancee called authorities and said he is being held against his will in the consulate or that something might have happened to him. The relevant units of the Istanbul police force then started an inquiry. As a result of security footage in the area, it becomes ascertained that Khashoggi never left the building.

'As we go deeper into the inquiry, we’ve obtained some very interesting information'

"Because they have diplomatic immunity – as per the Vienna Convention, which is part of a discussion now, Mogherini has made some discussions on this – no physical action was taken against the staff at first.

"As we go deeper into the inquiry, we’ve obtained some very interesting information. First of all, 15 Saudi nationals that are security, intelligence and forensics people arrived in our country, beginning on the eve of the murder.

"Six of these people have left our country on a private plane on 2 October at 6:20pm and seven at 10.50pm. Another person with a beard and eyeglasses attempted to resemble Jamal Khashoggi and another person left for Riyadh on a scheduled flight.

"The staff working at the consulate on the day of an incident were gathered in a room on the pretext of an inspection and the staff serving at the consulate were given leave and an excuse.”

Erdogan speaks:

“Staff were rushed back to their country, which indicates that the preparatory work was carried out there.

"On 1 October at 4:30pm - which was one day before - a team of three people land in Istanbul through a scheduled flight, then head to the hotel first, then head to the consulate, and then another team from the consulate does some reconnaissance work in the Belgrade forest and Yalova.

"On 2 October, 1:45am, a second group of three people come to Istanbul on scheduled flights and then go to a hotel. A team of nine, including generals, land at the airport on a private airplane and move to a separate hotel.

"The team comprised of 15 people meet at the consulate and arrive between 9:50pm and 11pm. First the hard disk is ripped out of the camera.

"And Khashoggi was called at 11:50am to confirm his appointment, having returned form Istanbul form London the same day. Khashoggi walks into the consulate building at 1:08pm. Of course, his fiancee is with him, and after that he is never heard from again.

"Six of these people left our country on a private plane on 2 October at 6:20pm and seven at 10:50pm. Another person with a beard and eyeglasses attempted to resemble Jamal Khashoggi and another person with him left for Riyadh on a scheduled flight after midnight."

 
 

Saudi royal family says it wasn't involved in murder. Rest is for investigators, says Russia

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told reports on Tuesday that Russia is aware of Saudi Arabia’s stance that the royal family was not connected to the murder of Khashoggi, Reuters reports.

Other matters, he said, are for investigators. 

Watch Erdogan's speech live here

Mohammed bin Salman now not to speak

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was expected to speak around the same time as Erdogan, in what would have been an extraordinary scene of duelling speeches.

Instead the FII's organisers have sent through an official schedule with the young heir to the Saudi throne not among the list of speakers.

Maybe he doesn't want to miss Erdogan's speech? The Turkish president is running a little behind schedule. His address in parliament was due to begin at 9.45am UK time.



Davos in the Desert speaking schedule. (Screengrab)

Five things we're looking for today

For three weeks, people have demanded access to the evidence collected by Turkish investigators – and slowly drip fed, day by day, in leaks to the media - showing what happened to Khashoggi after he entered the consulate on 2 October. Today, they may get it.

Here are five things we will be looking for in Erdogan’s speech and as the day moves forward:

1) Was there an interrogation that went wrong, as the Saudis claim? Or was Khashoggi brutally set upon as the Turks say?

2) Was this a premeditated crime or a kidnapping attempt that went awry?

3) If it was a kidnapping that went wrong, why did the Saudis behave the way they did after he died?

4) Was there any communication between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and the team of Saudis in Turkey during the operation? We know that seven of the men belong to MBS’s personal security and protection detail. How high up the chain of command did this operation go?

5) What will US President Donald Trump’s reaction be? Trump said over the weekend that he was “not satisfied” with Saudi Arabia’s account of what happened. What effect will Erodgan's speech have on Trump and American politicians?

What does Erdogan hope to do with his speech?

Turkey has been drip-feeding information from its Khashoggi investigation for the past three weeks, but has yet to officially declare anything on the record or present evidence so far, writes our correspondent Ece Goksedef from Istanbul. 

The purpose of the leaks to both local and international media has been to attract global attention and pressure the Saudis - who eventually admitted they had killed Khashoggi last Friday.

Yet Turkey has continued to leak evidence following Saudi's admission. The perception in Turkey is that the president and authorities are not happy with Saudi's explanation of the events.

Now Erdogan will use his speech as a warning to Saudi and the US to be more transparent about what happened.

Follow MEE's Khashoggi coverage

Middle East Eye has been closely following Jamal Khashoggi’s apparent murder ever since he disappeared on 2 October.

Here’s a selection of our latest news, features and columns on the tragic and sordid affair:

►On Monday, Mustafa Abu Sneineh revealed for the first time details of a team of assassins known as the Tiger Squad, said to be behind the death of Khashoggi and other Saudi dissidents

►In his latest column, MEE's Editor-in-Chief David Hearst explores the arguments for propping up Mohammed bin Salman's explosive reign, and asks whether the kingdom's stability is really at risk by his removal. Could it instead be the other way around?

►Over the weekend we broke our latest exclusive on the Turkish investigation, detailing how Turkey now believes that one of MBS's bodyguards, Maher Abdulaziz Mutrib, brought a body part back to Riyadh on a private jet

►And with the awful confirmation of Khashoggi's killing from the Saudi side, on Monday MEE republished the articles that Jamal wrote for us anonymously, before he fled the kingdom and took up his column at the Washington Post, where he was finally allowed to speak his mind under his own name

Turkey 'ready to cooperate' if UN requests independent investigation

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that Turkey has yet to share any information on the Khashoggi case with other countries, but is prepared to do so.

Speaking in Ankara, Cavusoglu said Turkey is "ready to cooperate" if the UN and other international bodies request an independent investigation into Khashoggi's death.



US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meeting last week (Reuters)

He added that it was important that Saudi Arabia acknowledged the killing of Khashoggi and that Turkey is more open to cooperation with the kingdom after a phone call last Friday between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Salman. 

SoftBank CEO cancels 'Davos in the Desert' talk

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son is the latest executive to pull out of speaking at the Future Investment Initiative in Saudi Arabia, the Wall Street Journal has reported within the past hour.

A spokesperson for the conference said that Son may still attend the conference even if he is not speaking.

Saudi Arabia has invested around $45bn in Softbank's $100bn Vision Fund. Launched in May 2017, the fund has already made major investments in several Silicon Valley companies including Uber, Slack and WeWork. 

Leaders desert 'Davos in the Desert'

It was meant to be an occasion where Saudi Arabia could showcase itself to some of the biggest and most-powerful political and business leaders on the planet.

But the major investment conference dubbed “Davos in the Desert” has instead been deserted by many of the key figures set to attend as the Khashoggi crisis has grown.



Saudi employees print badges of participants of the Future Investment Initiative conference. (AP)

The Future Investment Initiative (FII) 2018 kicked off on Tuesday hours before Erdogan is due to speak.

The darling of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), it seeks to attract investment and help kick-start the Saudi leader’s Vision 2030 economic reform programme.

Noticeably absent are Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and US Treasure Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who is still in Riyadh and met with MBS on Monday.

Trade and economics minsters from European heavyweights Britain, France and the Netherlands have also pulled out.

Meanwhile, top figures from corporate giants Uber, Ford and JPMorgan are also not attending. Media partners such as CNN, Bloomberg and the Financial Times have also pulled the plug on their support.

It’s not a good start, and with the people behind the real Davos conference, the World Economic Forum, issuing a statement on Monday objecting to FII’s use of its brand, the image of the Riyadh version could be tainted for ever.

CIA director heads to Turkey and other overnight updates

Good Morning from MEE staff in London. As we wait for Turkish President Erdogan's speech - now delayed until 11:45am local time/9:45am BST - here are some developments overnight on the Khashoggi case:

  • CIA Director Gina Haspel will reportedly travel to Turkey as the investigation into Khashoggi's killing continues. It is not immediately clear what she will be doing
     
  • Despite pulling out of the Future Investment Initiative conference which begins today, US Treasury Steven Mnuchin met on Monday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in Riyadh and reportedly discussed Khashoggi
     
  • A source close to Erdogan told the New York Times that Saudi Prince Khaled bin Faisal offered the Turkish president "a package of inducements for Turkey to drop the case". Erdogan rejected the offer, according to the source
     
  • Saoud al-Qahtani, a top aide to MBS, directed Khashoggi's killing at the Saudi consulate over Skype and reportedly said 'Bring me the head of the dog', a Turkish source told Reuters 

Quick catch-up of what's happened this morning

It's midday here in London. Here's a quick wrap of what's happened on the Khashoggi case this morning:

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave his much anticipated speech to a parliamentary committee this morning. While he didn't disclose any new evidence, he formalised many of the details that have been leaked to media outlets in recent weeks, called for the 15 Saudis suspects to be tried in Turkey and said that Khashoggi was a victim of a premeditated and gruesome murder
     
  • Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah has released a new report suggesting that the attache to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul - who it identifies as the main Saudi intelligence official operating there - was the main orchestrator behind Khashoggi's killing
     
  • Saudi's Future Investment Initiative conference - the 'Davos in the Desert' - started in Riyadh, but without many of the key figures set to attend. MbS had been scheduled to speak, but was not among speakers on the official schedule. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son was the latest executive to pull out of speaking at the conference
     
  • Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia is aware of Saudi Arabia’s stance that the royal family was not connected to the murder of Khashoggi. Other matters, he said, are for investigators