U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments on the investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, show that he will turn a blind to the incident no matter what, Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said on Friday.
On Tuesday, Trump vowed to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia in spite saying that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have known about the plan to murder Khashoggi in October.
Speaking to broadcaster CNN Turk, Cavusoglu also said the U.S. had not informed Turkey of an audio recording regarding Khashoggi’s killing, a day after a Turkish daily reported that the CIA was in possession of a recording in which the Crown Prince ordered to “silence Khashoggi”.
He also said there was no reason President Tayyip Erdogan and the crown prince could not meet during a visit to Argentina for the G20 summit, adding the final decision was Erdogan’s.
A Turkish newspaper reported on Thursday that CIA director, Gina Haspel, signaled to Turkish officials in October that the agency had a recording of a call in which Saudi Arabia’s crown prince gave instructions to “silence” Khashoggi.
Saudi Arabia has said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had no prior knowledge of Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
When asked about the recording by reporters in Florida, U.S. President Donald Trump said, “I don’t want to talk about it. You’ll have to ask them.” The CIA declined to comment when asked about the report.
“There is talk of another recording,” Hurriyet newspaper journalist Abdulkadir Selvi wrote in a column, saying the purported call took place between Prince Mohammed and his brother, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington.
“It is being said that CIA chief Gina Haspel indicated this during her visit to Turkey,” he wrote, adding that they had discussed Khashoggi, a critic of the kingdom’s de facto ruler.
“It is being said the crown prince gave orders to ‘silence Khashoggi as soon as possible’,” in a call which was monitored by the U.S. agency, he said.
Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 in an operation that Turkey’s President Erdogan has said was ordered by the highest level of Saudi leadership.
After offering numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh said last week Khashoggi had been killed and his body dismembered when negotiations to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.
Trump said the CIA had not definitively concluded that the crown prince was responsible, and said he would stand by Saudi Arabia’s leadership because it was a key U.S. ally.
“I hate the crime. I hate what’s done. I hate the cover up. And I tell you what: the crown prince hates it more than I do,” Trump said, without providing further detail.