UPDATE – Turkey expects Saudi cooperation in Khashoggi case: FM


By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) – Turkey expects cooperation from Saudi Arabia on the case of a prominent missing journalist, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Saturday.

Speaking with reporters at the Turkish Embassy Residence in London, Cavusoglu said there is a consensus on forming a joint working group with Saudi officials over the case of Jamal Khashoggi, who has not been seen since entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

His comments came on the first day of a three-day visit to London.

“We launched an investigation after Khashoggi's disappearance,” said Cavusoglu, adding: “This investigation is getting deeper.”

He said there is a consensus on forming a joint working group on the case with Saudi officials after they requested one, but that “this does not mean that we will stop" Turkey's own investigation.

Cavusoglu underlined that the findings of the investigation can be shared with this joint working group as Khashoggi is a Saudi national but “Saudi Arabia should be cooperating” by giving Turkish prosecutors and experts access to the consulate.

Saying that the cooperation so far had fallen short of what it should be, he added: "For everything to be cleared up, we would like to see this.”

“The whole world is focused on this case,” said Cavusoglu, adding that it will probably be raised during his Monday meeting with British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

On the same day Khashoggi arrived at the consulate, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the building while Khashoggi was also inside, police sources said. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.

Saudi authorities have yet to give a clear explanation of Khashoggi’s fate, while several countries — particularly Turkey, the U.S., and the U.K — are pressing for the case to be cleared up as soon as possible.

– Pastor Brunson

On the case of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was released by a Turkish court on Friday, Cavusoglu decried the U.S.’ “unacceptable” threatening language and sanctions on Turkish Cabinet ministers over the issue, stressing that Ankara has always said “this issue would be solved by the judiciary.”

Cavusoglu said the court found Brunson guilty and convicted him to just over three years in prison — but then released him due to good behavior and time served — and “everyone should respect this.”

Americans and Westerners consider their citizens, no matter what country they are in and what charges they face, “untouchable,” said Cavusoglu, adding that this attitude is against the “rule of law”.

Cavusoglu said he hopes “the U.S. now understands that pressure has no effect,” as such cases need to be left to the judiciary.

Brunson was arrested in December 2016, months after a defeated coup, and had faced terrorism-related offenses, including spying for FETO, the group behind the coup.

Earlier on Saturday, Cavusoglu gave a keynote speech in Bletchley Park at a Chatham House roundtable titled “Europe in a Changing World Order.” Regional developments were discussed during the meeting, he said.

Later Cavusoglu met with representatives of Turkish NGOs and said he will also meet with British media organizations during his visit to London.

*Diyar Guldogan contributed to this report from Ankara