US assessing extraditing FETO leader to Turkey: report

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – The White House is exploring legal methods of extraditing Fetullah Gulen, leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), to Turkey in order to soften Turkish pressure on Riyadh over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, NBC News reported Thursday.

Last month, the Donald Trump administration instructed the Justice Department and the FBI to reopen Gulen's extradition case, and also asked for information on his legal status from the Department of Homeland Security, four sources, including two senior U.S. officials, told NBC.

The National Security Council did not respond to Anadolu Agency's request for comment.

"The requests on Gulen in mid-October mark at least the second time the Trump administration has reexamined Turkey's extradition request since taking office," NBC wrote.

The news agency reported that a Turkish official said the extradition case is not linked to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed by Saudi operatives after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"We definitely see no connection between the two," the official told NBC. "We want to see action on the end of the United States in terms of the extradition of Gulen. And we're going to continue our investigation on behalf of the Khashoggi case."

FETO, led by Gulen, orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge, since renamed the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge, was seized by soldiers on the night of the coup attempt and became a focus for those resisting the putschists in Istanbul.

At least 34 people were gunned down on the bridge before the rebellious troops surrendered as the coup bid crumbled. The incident has led to 143 soldiers standing trial.

At Akinci, an air base to the north of the capital Ankara — renamed Murted after the defeated coup — the coup plotters established a command center to coordinate attacks, including fighter jets that attacked the parliament and Presidential Palace.

"One option that Turkish and Trump administration officials recently discussed is forcing Gulen to relocate to South Africa rather than sending him directly to Turkey if extradition is not possible," the officials further told NBC.

Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

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UPDATE – Turkish FM calls for int'l probe on Khashoggi case

UPDATE WITH MORE REMARKS

By Tugrul Cam, Nazli Yuzbasioglu and Tevfik Durul.

ANKARA (AA) – International investigation on the case of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is crucial at this stage, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Wednesday.

"In any case, Turkey will do whatever it takes to clarify all aspects of this murder," Mevlut Cavusoglu told the parliament’s planning and budget commission, referring to the killing of Khashoggi.

Turkey has conducted a transparent process and the whole world has admitted it, Cavusoglu noted.

Khashoggi, a frequent contributor to The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

After weeks of denying involvement, the Kingdom admitted Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate but claimed the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of any plot to murder the journalist.

So far, 18 people — including security officers — have been arrested in Saudi Arabia in connection with the murder.

Commenting on Yemen's ongoing conflict, Cavusoglu said Turkey supports efforts of the UN, which has called for a cease-fire.

"Turkey also supports Oman's mediation efforts and has made contact with Iran. It disapproves the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia's policies of besieging all the people in Yemen," he said.

Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a devastating air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

Turkish FM calls for int'l probe on Khashoggi case

By Tugrul Cam

ANKARA (AA) – International investigation on the case of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is crucial at this stage, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Wednesday.

"In any case, Turkey will do whatever it takes to clarify all aspects of this murder," Mevlut Cavusoglu told the parliament’s planning and budget commission, referring to the killing Khashoggi.

Turkey has conducted a transparent process and the whole world has admitted it, Cavusoglu noted.

Khashoggi, a frequent contributor to The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

After weeks of denying involvement, the Kingdom admitted Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate but claimed the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of any plot to murder the journalist.

So far, 18 people — including security officers — have been arrested in Saudi Arabia in connection with the murder.

French accusations go too far: Turkey's Cavusoglu

By Leyla Ataman Koyuncuoglu

ANTALYA, Turkey (AA) – French criticisms of the Turkish president’s handling of the case of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi crossed the line, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Monday.

"The French foreign minister went too far, and he has to know how to talk to a president," said Mevlut Cavusoglu, accusing Jean-Yves Le Drian of not telling the truth.

Le Drian on Monday claimed that — contrary to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statements — France doesn't have recordings related to the Khashoggi killing, saying Erdogan was playing “a political game” over the case.

On Saturday, Erdogan said Ankara had shared recordings related to the Khashoggi killing with Saudi Arabia, the U.S., Germany, France and the U.K.

"I know our intelligence service gave all the information, including wiretaps and transcripts, to French intelligence at their request on Oct. 24," said Cavusoglu.

He said that Turkey gave evidence about the Khashoggi killing to several countries, calling Le Drian accusing Erdogan “rude.”

French officials could soon "deny Khashoggi was killed, which even Saudi Arabia has accepted,” added Cavusoglu.

"We will pursue the Khashoggi case to the end. We’re cooperating with everyone internationally,” he said.

"As the whole world is praising Turkey’s stance, the French foreign minister’s accusations and rudeness are extremely puzzling. What’s behind this? Are they trying to cover up this killing?"

He pledged to look into any French-Saudi agreements.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

After weeks of denying involvement, the kingdom admitted he had been killed at the consulate and that it was premeditated.

Germany receives recordings on Khashoggi from Turkey

By Ayhan Simsek

BERLIN (AA) – German government has confirmed intelligence sharing between Turkey and Germany about the recordings of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Asked about recent media reports over the weekend, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman confirmed that they have received information from Turkey.

“I can tell you that there has been an exchange of intelligence service information on that,” Steffen Seibert told a regular news conference, but declined to give any further details.

On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara shared the recordings related to the murder of Khashoggi with Saudi Arabia, the U.S., Germany, France and the U.K.

Khashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

After weeks of denying involvement, the kingdom admitted that Khashoggi had been killed at the consulate but claimed that the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of a plot to murder him.

So far, 18 people, including security officers, have been arrested in Saudi Arabia in connection with the murder.

Germany urges quick completion of Khashoggi probe

By Ayhan Simsek

BERLIN (AA) – Germany has renewed its call on Saudi Arabia to complete the investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi “as soon as possible.”

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Adebahr said many questions remained unanswered.

“As Foreign Minister Heiko Maas explicitly said earlier this week, we are demanding a full clarification of the incident,” she said.

“We will continue our efforts to see this,” she added.

Khashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

After weeks of denying involvement, the kingdom admitted that Khashoggi had been killed at the consulate but claimed that the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of a plot to murder him.

So far, 18 people, including security officers, have been arrested in Saudi Arabia in connection with the murder.

Last week, Turkish prosecutors announced their preliminary findings, saying Khashoggi was strangled to death in a premeditated killing soon after he entered the consulate.

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office said Khashoggi's body was disposed of after being dismembered.

Saudi authorities have so far claimed that they do not know the whereabouts of his remains.

Iran to exploit Khashoggi killing: Johnson

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – If the killers of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi evade justice, Iran will exploit the consequences, a member of Britain’s Parliament said Thursday.

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Boris Johnson, a former foreign secretary of the UK, said he believes Khashoggi's death was orchestrated by the "highest levels of the Saudi regime".

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Post, disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

After shifting narratives, the Saudi government admitted that he had been killed, yet still have not disclosed the whereabouts of his body.

"My awful suspicion — and I pray I am wrong — is that for one reason or another, the killers, or at least those who ultimately gave the order, may get away with it," Johnson said.

He noted that many “powerful people” throughout the world fear a destabilized Saudi government would wreak havoc on the Middle East, and most leaders would prefer the issue to be “brushed under the carpet".

Johnson then went on to say that in the midst of the Khashoggi affair, the world should focus on Iran, and its influence in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen needs to be checked.

He added that Iran was responsible for its share of exploiting policies laid out by the West, including fueling the Houthi rebels against the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

"The war in Yemen is turning out to be bad for Saudi Arabia — and, alas, is boosting, not reversing, Iranian influence," Johnson said.

"The murder of Khashoggi has been terrible for Saudi Arabia," he said. "And if there is one way to boost Iran, and all regional critics of the Saudi regime, it would be to hush it all up."

Turkey's ruling party blasts US 'hypocrisy' on PYD

By Mehmet Tosun and Enes Kaplan

ANKARA (AA) – Calling the terrorist PYD a legitimate group is "hypocrisy," said the acting chair of Turkey’s ruling party on Thursday.

"It is not understandable for the U.S. to recognize the PYD — the PKK’s Syrian branch — as a legitimate organization while the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S.,” Numan Kurtulmus of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party told a group of publishers meeting in the capital Ankara.

Discussing the U.S. move this week putting multi-million dollar bounties on three key PKK terrorists, even as it continues to partner with the terrorist PYD, Kurtulmus said the U.S. knows that there is no difference between the PKK and PYD/YPG.

Turkey has repeatedly objected to U.S. support for the terrorist PKK/PYD as a "reliable ally" in Syria, which has included supplying arms and equipment.

In recent days Turkish officials have stepped up their calls for the U.S. to cut its ties to the terrorist group PYD/YPG.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.

-Khashoggi and pilgrims

Turning to the killing last month in Istanbul of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Kurtulmus stressed the importance of travelers' safety for the pilgrimage to the Saudi city of Mecca, one of the pillars of Islam.

After entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, Khashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, was strangled and then dismembered, according to the Istanbul Prosecutor’s office.

If someone disappears in the Saudi Consulate, this may give Muslims reason to doubt the safety of pilgrims and isolate Saudi Arabia in the eyes of Muslims, he warned.

So far in 2018, almost 2 million domestic and foreign pilgrims have taken the Hajj pilgrimage.