You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Turkish President Says Killing of Jamal Khashoggi Was ‘Premeditated’ and ‘Very Cruel’

Turkey’s president declared Tuesday that the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul was a “premeditated” act carried out after a large of team of Saudi intelligence, security and forensic personnel suddenly descended on Istanbul.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Saudi officials arrived in Turkey the day before Khashoggi went to the consulate Oct. 2 to do some paperwork for his upcoming marriage. The Washington Post columnist – an outspoken frequent critic of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – was never seen again, and the Saudi government, after repeated denials, now admits that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate in what it terms a “rogue operation.”

Erdogan told Turkish lawmakers that various members of the Saudi team of more than a dozen personnel, including a military general, conducted some kind of survey of a forest near Istanbul and also disabled security cameras around the Saudi consulate before Khashoggi arrived. After his disappearance, the officials abruptly returned to Saudi Arabia.

Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of a very cruel murder,” Erdogan said, adding: “We have all the evidence.”

Turkish officials have alleged that Khashoggi was tortured and dismembered inside the consulate. However, Erdogan did not produce the secret audio or video recordings that some officials have said provide proof of how Khashoggi was killed and his body disposed of. The Saudi government says Khashoggi died after a fistfight.

After accusing the Saudis of initially obstructing Turkey’s investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance, Erdogan said Tuesday he trusted Saudi Arabia’s King Salman pledge to cooperate. But he pointedly did not mention Crown Prince Mohammed, saying that the order to kill Khashoggi must have come from high up within the Saudi government. Erdogan is known to have a dim view of the crown prince and sees him as a rival for influence in the Middle East.

The Turkish leader had promised to reveal “the naked truth” about Khashoggi’s murder but fell short of that with a speech that was not as detailed or as full of new facts and evidence as analysts had expected. He said the Saudis should allow the 18 people named by the kingdom as suspects in the case to be put on trial in Turkey, but Erdogan did not offer much information beyond that already leaked by Turkish officials, especially with regards to whether the “premeditation” could be attributed all the way up to the crown prince.

Erdogan’s statement came on the same day that Saudi Arabia launched its Future Investment Initiative, a high-profile economic forum in Riyadh, the kingdom’s capital, that was to be attended by top officials and executives from around the world. But Khashoggi’s killing prompted U.S. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin and top execs from CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox Business, and Viacom to pull out. The forum is the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed, who was also noticeably absent when it started.

The outrage and questions over Khashoggi’s killing are jeopardizing the crown prince’s plans to reshape the Saudi economy and threatening his country’s ability to attract foreign investment. Hollywood and the global entertainment community have been reassessing their ties with Saudi Arabia. London-based exhibitor Vue International has said that its plans to open multiplexes in Saudi Arabia are on temporary hold because of the scandal.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, is an investor in Penske Media Corp., the parent company of Variety.

More Film

  • Picture Tree Adds ‘Cold Feet’ to

    Picture Tree Adds ‘Cold Feet’ to Berlin Market Lineup (EXCLUSIVE)

    Picture Tree Intl. has added German romantic comedy “Cold Feet” (Kalte Füsse) to its market lineup at the Berlin Film Festival, where the sales agent will screen the film as a market premiere. Sony Pictures released the pic, directed Wolfgang Groos, in Germany on Thursday, and it garnered 100,000 admissions over its opening weekend. “Cold [...]

  • Neil Burger

    'Upside' Director Neil Burger Sets Sci-Fi 'Voyagers' as Next Project

    “The Upside” director Neil Burger is set to direct sci-fi thriller “Voyagers” as his next project. The film will be fully financed and co-produced by Stuart Ford’s AGC Studios, and produced by Burger’s Nota Bene Productions and Basil Iwanyk’s Thunder Road Films. AGC also handles international sales on the new film. Written and directed by [...]

  • Berlin: M-Appeal Acquires Panorama Title ‘Greta’

    M-Appeal Acquires Berlin Panorama Title ‘Greta’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    M-Appeal has acquired world sales rights to “Greta,” the feature debut of Brazil’s Armando Praça which will world premiere in this year’s Berlinale Panorama section. The Berlin-based film industry has also dropped an international trailer, to which Variety has had exclusive access. Produced by Carnaval Filmes, whose credit include major titles by Marcelo Gomes, one [...]

  • Kew Media Boards Michael Jackson Documentary

    Kew Media Boards Michael Jackson Documentary 'Leaving Neverland' for International

    Kew Media Distribution has boarded controversial Michael Jackson sex-abuse documentary “Leaving Neverland” ahead of its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Kew Media has taken international distribution rights (excluding U.K. and U.S.) to the two-part documentary, which is a co-production of HBO and British broadcaster Channel 4. Directed by BAFTA-winner Dan Reed, “Leaving [...]

  • Nordic Film Market: New Pálmason, Hákonarson,

    Nordic Film Market Selects Latest Palmason, Hakonarson, Hafstrom, Ganslandt

    The 20th Nordic Film Market in Göteborg, unspooling Jan. 31-Feb 3, will showcase 16 works in progress including Hlynur Pálmason’s “A White, White Day”, Grímur Hákonarson’s “The County”, Mikael Håfström’s “The Perfect Patient” and Jesper Ganslandt’s “438 Days.” Iceland is well represented this year with top directors and festival darlings Pálmason (“Winter Brothers”), Hákonarson (“Rams”) [...]

  • 'All These Small Moments' Review

    Film Review: 'All These Small Moments'

    The magic of writer-director Melissa B. Miller Costanzo’s “All These Small Moments” can be found within the intimacy of the scenarios, the authenticity of her earnest characterizations, and the accessibility of the actors’ honest performances. In her deftly polished directorial debut, Costanzo dovetails the primary story about a teen’s coming of age with a secondary [...]

  • Bruce Tufeld Dead: Hollywood Agent and

    Hollywood Agent and Manager Bruce Tufeld Dies at 66

    Bruce Tufeld, a Hollywood agent and manager who once repped stars like Rob Lowe, Laura Dern, and Kelsey Grammer, died Tuesday in Los Angeles as a result of complications from liver cancer. He was 66. The son of respected television announcer Richard “Dick” Tufeld and Adrienne Tufeld, Bruce began his career as an assistant at ICM [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content