UPDATES WITH FURTHER REMARKS OF TURKISH PRESIDENT
By Meryem Goktas
ANKARA (AA) – Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said he will make a statement on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi Tuesday.
"On this issue [Khashoggi’s killing], I will make statements hopefully on Tuesday during the [ruling Justice and Development Party’s weekly] group meeting," he said at the opening ceremony of the driverless metro line on the Asian side of Istanbul.
"Why did these 15 people came here [in Istanbul], why were 18 people arrested [in Saudi Arabia]? These need to be explained in detail," he said.
Erdogan said that he would address the issues "in detail" during the party’s group meeting on Tuesday.
Khashoggi was last seen on Oct. 2 when he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
After days of denying to know his whereabouts, Saudi Arabia on Saturday claimed Khashoggi died during a fight inside the consulate.
On the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while he was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.
A joint Turkish-Saudi team completed an investigation into the case on Thursday after searching the residence of the consul general as well as the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
– Inauguration of driverless metro
During the ceremony the, the Turkish president also inaugurated the 20-kilometer (12.42-mile) portion with 16 stations of the Uskudar-Umraniye – Cekmekoy metro line which will connect Yamanevler – Cekmekoy-Sancaktepe.
Test drives were conducted in September and the line received the "international security certificate."
Some 700,000 people are expected to use the metro line on a daily basis. Uskudar – Umraniye-Cekmekoy metro is the country’s first driverless metro line. Its first stage was completed and opened last December.
"By the end of this year, we will hopefully also bring the 63-kilometers (39-mile) long Gebze – Halkali suburban line into service," he said.
"Until we do not solve the problem of transportation in Istanbul together with other problems, we will not stop or rest," he added.
Erdogan said after the completion of under construction projects, the length of rail system in Turkey will reach 355 kilometers (221 miles) in 2019.
He said that the country is “determined” to increase this number to over 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) with new projects.
Reminding the opening of Istanbul’s third airport on Oct. 29, the president said the city is reaching the goal of becoming the global center.
Istanbul's new airport will be one of three biggest airports in the world with an annual capacity of 90 million passenger in the first phase.
– Meeting with Cambodia Prime Minister
Prior to the inauguration of driverless metro, Erdogan received Cambodian Prime Minister Hun-Sen at Mabeyn Palace in Yildiz Palace Complex in Istanbul.
The meeting, which was closed to press, lasted about 1 hour and 40 minutes.